In Indiana: The CEO versus the Citizen


An exchange on the Indianapolis Star's website over the proposed marriage amendment there (HJR-6) is worth highlighting.

On November 19th, the CEO and founder of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, Jeff Smulyan, penned an opinion piece (called a "My View") conveying the message: "Marriage amendment moves Indiana backward."

Expressing his opposition toward the amendment, Smulyan writes:

HJR6 doesn’t move Indiana forward — it moves us backward.

The nature of business in Indiana has changed. We are no longer the manufacturing economy of the past. In order for businesses to stay competitive we must change and respond to the needs of our workforce. [...] In Indiana, we need to be on the cutting edge of issues like marriage equality to make our home attractive to the growing companies and top talent looking to locate here. We must give companies reasons to invest here, not reasons to stay away.

He ends his piece with the argument that "defeating HJR 6 is not just the right thing to do — it’s the Hoosier thing to do" [emphasis added].

Now, of course, the supposed boon to a state's economy wrought by redefining marriage is a complete and utter myth - a fact proven time after time after time after time.

But besides that - it seems a bit ironic, don't you think, to claim something something as "the Hoosier thing to do" when it means not allowing Hoosiers to decide the matter?

Well, one Hoosier thinks it is pretty ironic.

An Indianapolis citizen named John Hanagan wrote a Letter to the Editor to respond to Mr. Smulyan, and this is what he had to say [emphasis added]:

Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan’s My View on the same-sex marriage amendment added little to the debate. Smulyan’s unverifiable claim that “I know what makes Hoosiers unique” and that “defeating HJR6 is the Hoosier thing to do” have little merit. His opinion really does not matter as much to me, and other Hoosiers, as he might think.


What matters is what Hoosier voters think about the issue. Why is Smulyan... opposed to having a referendum on the matter? Let Hoosiers vote on it.

Bravo, Mr. Hanagan! We agree: LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!

And let us all learn a lesson from Mr. Hanagan in this, too: writing a letter to the editor might seem a simple thing to do, but it can make a big impact in the marriage debate. We need more ordinary citizens to stand up and speak out in defense of marriage in this simple but effective way.

Copyright 2013