Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Face Harsh Media Optics

It seems like hardly a month goes by without yet another major company or organization announcing their opposition to HJR-6, the proposed amendment to Indiana's constitution that would define marriage between one man and one man and would super-ban same-sex marriage, all civil unions, and who knows what else.

This month, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has announced their opposition to it. While they won't be joining directly with Freedom Indiana, the organization formally opposing HJR-6, they will be including HJR-6 opposition in their legislative lobbying. Chamber President Michael Huber, a former deputy mayor of Indianapolis under Greg Ballard, says that a politician or candidate's position on HJR-6 will also be reflected in their endorsements and campaign contributions.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has declined to take a position for or against the amendment.

What I found most interesting is the response from Micah Clark, a supporter of HJR-6 and executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana:

“It is unfortunate that the Indy Chamber has taken this position given that, according to Kiplinger Financial Magazine, the top five states for best business growth in 2012 and 2013 all have marriage protection amendments,” Clark said. “The myth that public policy support for traditional marriage is somehow bad for business is a red herring and a scare tactic.”

He added: “The future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters, not the board room of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.”
This is the sixth or so variant that Micah Clark and/or Curtis Smith have had to submit in response to the latest business or organization announcing their opposition to HJR-6. They're doing it alone, by themselves, and it seems kind of lonely. In contrast, when Megan Robertson of Freedom Indiana speaks on issues related to HJR-6, she is speaking for and as part of an organization that is actively engaged in opposing HJR-6. And Robertson has no shortage of surrogates to toss to in case the Freedom Indiana folks want someone else to speak on the issue.

Ultimately, the proponents of HJR-6 won't just need to influence their allies in the state house but they'll need to influence the media battle as well. What surrogates do Curt Smith and Micah Clark have to offer? Will they make a compelling case to state legislators and to voters? And, most importantly, would I get significantly drunk if I took a shot every time they bring up religious opposition to same-sex marriage?