Indiana State University Newsroom

Upcoming panel to highlight various perspectives about the proposed same-sex marriage ban

November 5, 2013

An upcoming panel discussion at Indiana State University will feature perspectives from businesses and religious organizations opposing a proposed amendment to the Indiana state constitution banning marriage equality.

Indiana State will host "Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage Ban" on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. in the Community Conference Center at Federal Hall. The panel will feature Megan Robertson, director of Freedom Indiana; Shannon Kiely-Heider, director of state government relations at Columbus-based Cummins and a member of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry; and Tom Johnson, principal investigator for the Center of the Study of Health, Religion and Spirituality at Indiana State. The event is free and open to the public.

They will discuss the perspectives of a growing number of business leaders and other prominent officials who have publicly opposed House Joint Resolution 6, which proposes that "only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana," and that "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage ... shall not be valid or recognized."

"There's a lot of problems with [Indiana's proposed state constitutional amendment], but one of the big problems is they're going against what the tendency in the nation is, and they're also going against human rights," said Bill Wilhelm, professor of business education, information and technology at Indiana State who organized the conference. "To deny law-abiding citizens the rights of other law-abiding citizens because of a preference [on how you want them to live their lives] is a denial of a human right."

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has taken a public stance against the proposed amendment. Several major central Indiana businesses have been among the supporters of Freedom Indiana, which also opposes the measure.

The proposed amendment would make it more difficult for major companies and universities to recruit the most talented people for job openings, Wilhelm said, since many people would be hesitant to relocate to a state with a government that extends such efforts to limit residents' rights. The law also is immoral, Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm referenced the recent Supreme Court decision that has led to the federal government recognizing all marriages, including those of same-sex couples. The recognition has led to the extension of many federal benefits to all spouses regardless of gender, though state governments still vary.

Indiana already prohibits same-sex marriage; the proposed state constitutional amendment, Wilhelm said, is for such a ban to be more difficult to repeal in the future.

The proposed amendment "is aimed to segregate, degrade and demean a distinct population of law-abiding citizens by denying them the right to marry and form families," Wilhelm said. "This is a right guaranteed to all men and women under Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is blatant discrimination."

The proposed amendment would need to be passed by both chambers of the state legislature, then it would be put on the ballot for voters to approve in November 2014.

For more information, please contact Bill Wilhelm at 812-237-2076 or

Contact: Bill Wilhelm, professor of business education, information and technology, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2076 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or