Indiana University is opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage in Indiana as between a man and woman.
The state already has a law banning same-sex marriage, but a change to the state constitution would make the law harder to overturn.
IU has offered benefits to same-sex domestic partners for more than a decade, but university officials stayed out of the legislative debate when the Indiana General Assembly gave its first stamp of approval to a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2011.
Lawmakers must vote to approve the measure again this session if the ban is to move forward. If that happens, the proposed constitutional change will be placed on the November 2014 ballot.
IU spokesperson Mark Land says the time was right for IU officials to take a stand against a “fundamentally intolerant” amendment.
“With this, really, this issue really coming to a head, we thought it was a good time for us to stand up and be publicly counted and to throw our support behind a movement that embodies a lot of what we hold dear as an institution,” Land says.
Representatives of two groups supporting the gay marriage ban did not immediately return requests for comment.
IU President Michael McRobbie says, if approved, House Joint Resolution 6 would send the wrong kind of message and would provide a disincentive for potential employees to come work in Indiana.
“As a major employer in the state, IU competes with universities and companies around the world for the very best talent, and HJR6 would needlessly complicate our efforts to attract employees to our campuses around the state,” he said in a statement.
IU is now a member, along with several other companies that have joined Freedom Indiana, a coalition whose goal is to defeat the amendment. Those include Cummins, Eli Lily, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce as well as a number of religious and civil rights organizations.
Simon Thompson contributed to this report.