My employer, Eli Lilly and Company, talks a lot about the cost to business. Recruiting and retaining top global talent – LGBT, straight allies, and families – will take a big hit if Indiana disadvantages itself further against states such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Washington.
As our senior vice president of human resources diversity, Steve Fry, testified on Monday before the House Judiciary Committee:
“This issue is not just one for our lesbian and gay employees. We must recognize that younger people, most especially young professionals, do not support marriage discrimination. In fact, survey data show an unambiguous correlation with age. In a June poll, Pew noted that nearly two-thirds of millennials support marriage equality (versus 41 percent of baby boomers). The millennial generation, and those that follow them, are the future workforce of America.”
But aside from workforce issues, there are more reasons to wonder why this issue is being debated. Speaking of amendments, the No. 14 in the U.S. constitution is all about equal protection. Specifically, it provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. So a constitutional amendment that, in essence, says everyone is not going to be treated equally seems to fly in the face of the equal protection clause. (Robert Shelby, a federal judge in Utah, agrees).
And at a very human level, the idea that gay couples are bad parents – as so many HJR3 supporters implied on Monday – is repugnant. They don’t know the same people I know. Some were married with children before fully embracing their sexual orientation. They were good parents when they were married, and they didn’t lose those skills in the divorce. And some gay couples have adopted children that were given up by straight people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, raise their children because of dire surroundings, such as drug use and prostitution.
If you think a child is better off being raised by straight adults in a highly troubling environment than by successful, stable gay adults, you have a strange perspective on family values.
The next few weeks, or potentially months, will be highly interesting – and potentially high embarrassing – for the state of Indiana (for you Twitter fans, HJR3 was trending nationally on Monday, and not in a good way). The constitution suggests this whole exercise is wrong. The words from some people testifying confirms it.
Greg Kueterman is the Director of Government Legislation; Access and Public Policy Issues at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. He’s a former newspaper reporter who never really dreamed that four years of journalism school would lead to tweeting 140 characters at a time — but now he kind of likes it (@GregKueterman). A graduate of Indiana University, Greg’s a big fan of NFL football, bike trails and non-fiction. He blogs professionally at LillyPad, where he focuses on Life at Lilly issues, including policies that affect the pharmaceutical industry and the company’s focus on innovation.