Supporters of same sex marriage in the Lafayette area are not taking the Supreme Court’s decisions for granted. At a rally Wednesday night in West Lafayette, those gathered agree that the message of equal rights needs to be spread across Indiana.
Ashley Smith with Pride Lafayette says that means talking to people and breaking down stereotypes.
"Try to make people understand that we’re exactly the same. Our families are the same. We are not looking for anything special. We are only looking for the exact same rights every other American is given.”
She thinks more gay and lesbian Hoosiers will come out now that the Republican leaders at the Indiana Statehouse have said there will be a vote on a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage next year.
Smith also says it will take their friends and family members to help defeat the measure. One of those is Monique Hensley, who spoke about the need for equal rights for all gays and lesbians who want to marry. She says more work needs to be done.
“Starting with the governor, starting to contact our representatives and calling them to action, because I do believe this will be passed to a vote to the people of Indiana,” Hensley says. “They need to then understand, why do I have the right to decide who somebody else loves, just because it’s different than the choice I would make?”
Hensley says everyone knows someone who is gay, but that person may not be open about it because they don’t feel safe in sharing that information.
Smith thinks the Supreme Court’s decisions will encourage more gay and lesbian Hoosiers to come out and tell their stories. She says more voices are needed to talk about a same sex marriage ban that would be far-reaching with a negative impact on the state.
“Purdue University is affected by this. The places that offer same sex benefits, like Frito Lay (in Frankfort), how is this going to affect them? It’s going to affect a lot of people. It’s going to affect people at home, but how is it going to affect business?”
When the General Assembly took up the constitutional amendment in 2011, a Ball State economist warned the state would be less attractive to potential investors, because it would be perceived as not accepting of a diverse workforce.