Indiana suffered a public-relations black eye during the RFRA fiasco, but Ballard drew raves for national TV appearances where he underscored Indianapolis’s commitment to inclusion. In March, the mayor issued an executive order defending his LGBT constituents and demanding a repeal of RFRA. That wasn’t an anomaly. In 2014, Ballard voiced his opposition to HJR-3’s attack on marriage equality. And as early as 2012, Ballard favored a bill establishing domestic partnerships for the city and county, which he signed into law in August of that year.
“Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity,” Ballard said. “Discrimination is wrong.”
Ballard has shown solidarity with the Indianapolis LGBT community with his “Welcome to Indianapolis” letters each year for Circle City IN Pride Week. He continued his public support when he renewed the wedding vows of loving couples—gay and straight—at a ceremony at the City Market in 2014.
There’s still no word whether Governor Mike Pence will send a letter welcoming Indiana’s LGBT community for Circle City IN Pride Week goings-on, but Ballard is happy to participate.
“I am honored to serve as this year’s Grand Marshal, and I look forward to celebrating Circle City IN Pride Week with our LGBT community,” the mayor said. “For decades, our city has been recognized as one of the world’s most welcoming communities. Hoosier Hospitality is alive and well, and the Pride Parade is going to be a great opportunity to demonstrate that.”
The Circle City IN Pride week of events begins on Friday, June 5 with the Indy Pride First Fridays is a Drag, featuring Lady Bunny, and concludes with the Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade and Circle City IN Pride Festival, Saturday, June 13, at American Legion Mall. The full week’s schedule can be found at www.circlecityinpride.org.