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Editor's Note: The full Indiana Senate will hear arguments for both sides and then vote on HJR-3 after 1:30 p.m. today at the Statehouse. You can view or listen to the proceedings live at in.gov.
On Tuesday, a new group came forward in the HJR-3 fight, leaning its weight in support of the proposed same-sex marriage bill. About 100 young adults showed up at the Indiana Statehouse, calling themselves the Young Hoosiers for Marriage. Their goal: to show lawmakers that a number of young professionals and students strongly favor adding the second sentence (a permanent ban on civil unions and domestic partnerships) back into the language of House Joint Resolution 3.
IM caught up with Chris Knight, a senior at Indiana Bible College, who was one of four people to speak at the Statehouse about the organization. “We came together to show the legislature that there are young people who believe in traditional marriage,” Knight says. “Other groups like Freedom Indiana have tried to push to the media that young people are on their side.”
Freedom Indiana has noted that 83 percent of Hoosiers under 30 are in favor of same-sex marriage, while 64 percent of Hoosiers overall support it, according to a poll conducted last year by Bellwether Research). Members of the Young Hoosiers for Marriage stake their own claim on a survey by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research (WPA), showing that 54 percent of Hoosiers ages 18 to 34 favor traditional marriage.
“We believe in the institution of marriage and the fact that it is designed for one man and one woman, and that is what is best for our future and the best environment for our kids and for society to grow as a whole,” says Knight.
Knight said group members found one another mostly by way of preexisting networking. They do not yet have a website or social-media presence. Members of Young Hoosiers for Marriage feel that, without its second sentence, HJR-3 as a bill-turned-amendment would work against itself.
“A failure to insert the second sentence is a prelude to same-sex marriage being enforced later on,” says Knight. “We are against something that would mirror marriage and have the same elements of that as well. It eventually leads to the institution of marriage being broken down years later. What happens is a judge looks at civil unions and marriages and realizes there isn’t that much difference in the language, so they might as well have same-sex marriage available in states. “
One of the primary concerns of businesses and organizations that have sided with Freedom Indiana in opposing HJR-3 is that their leaders will not be able to attract the best, brightest, and most innovative workers to Indiana if the bill is passed. Knight and his cohort don’t see the same writing on the wall.
“I don’t see how it would deter young people,” says Knight. “Why would a young person not go to a state just because same-sex marriage is not allowed?”
Knight also notes that he believes the number of LGBT young professionals in America is so small that it would not impact the state if they did not come here to work.
He says that, while it would not be ideal, the group would still be in support of HJR-3 if it passes without its original second sentence. If the Senate votes to reinsert that language, and it also gets House approval, Hoosiers will see the question of a constitutional ban on their ballots in November. If that happens, Young Hoosiers for Marriage plans to rally young people to its cause and, in Knight's words, “show them the facts.”
“Our focus will shift to informing,” says Knight.
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