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University of Evansville President, Faculty Senate Announce Opposition to HJR-6

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013

Today, the President of the University of Evansville, Dr. Thomas A. Kazee, announced his opposition to HJR-6, the proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would define marriage and limit protections under law for same-sex and unmarried couples and families. He joins the Faculty Senate of the University, which has passed a resolution opposing HJR-6.

President Kazee said that amending the Indiana Constitution in this way would “make it more difficult to attract and retain the talented students, faculty, staff, and administrators that make the University of Evansville the transformative institution that it has been throughout its history.” It is, he argued, “inconsistent with the core values of the University.” He cited UE’s stated commitment to enhancing “a climate of respect, understanding, and appreciation of difference.”

The Faculty Senate agreed, stating in its resolution, “The University of Evansville is an institution of higher learning that prides itself on providing an inclusive environment in which all members of the campus community, whatever their backgrounds or beliefs, feel safe and valued and welcome.”

Kazee’s opposition is based also on concerns that the proposed amendment does much more than narrowly define marriage. HJR-6 would add a “vague and difficult to enforce stipulation” that a status “identical or substantially similar to that of a marriage…shall not be valid or recognized.” Such a statement, President Kazee argued, is simply bad public policy. “I do hope our legislators,” Kazee stated, “recognize the deeply problematic nature of such language and vote to defeat HJR-6.”

With his action, Kazee joins the presidents of Indiana University, Ball State University, DePauw University, Wabash College, Hanover College, and Butler University in announcing their opposition to the amendment, as well as the mayors of Evansville, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and West Lafayette. Others, including companies such as Eli Lilly & Co., Cummins, and Emmis Communications, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and religious leaders throughout the state have also urged state legislators to vote in opposition to HJR-6.

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