INDIANAPOLIS — A Cummins Inc. executive told a state Senate committee that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage would harm Cummins’ business and make the company more reluctant to create jobs in Indiana.
“This resolution sends a powerful message that Indiana is not a place that welcomes people of all backgrounds, and it jeopardizes our ability to be competitive in global markets,” Jill Cook, vice president of human resources, testified Wednesday.
Executives of Eli Lilly and Co. also told the Senate Judiciary Committee the amendment would hurt Indiana’s economy.
Supporters said the amendment would prevent courts from overturning an Indiana law that bars gay marriage.
Cook said Cummins recently announced plans to hire 550 professionals with salaries in the $80,000 range, and that the company could have chosen to create the jobs anywhere.
“We have chosen Indiana because of our commitment to our community and our ability to thrive here,” she said.
Indiana amending its constitution to ban gay marriage would hurt Cummins’ efforts to attract the best talent, she said.
“We know from experience that the creative and innovative employees we need to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy are reluctant to move to places that do not embrace diversity,” she said.
Cook said Cummins’ work force will undergo a generational shift in the next few years, and that Generation Y will replace baby boomers as the largest contingent among the company’s employees.
“Experts say these workers will expect and demand a diverse workplace. And they will place a much higher premium on quality-of life-issues than any previous generation,” Cook said.
Also, she said Cummins had a direct business impact on Indiana of $1.4 billion, and an indirect impact of $5.1 billion.
“We expect our impact on Indiana’s economy will grow as we add high-paying professional jobs to the local work force,” Cook said.
“But we will be reluctant to add those jobs if Indiana is a less-welcoming and inclusive place for all of our employees.
“Cummins believes that inequality based on marital status sends a message of intolerance that has no place in a state that professes to treat all citizens with dignity.”
The committee heard more than two hours of testimony but delayed a vote until next week.
The House voted last month in favor of the amendment. If the Senate approves it this year, it would have to pass the General Assembly again in 2013 or 2014 to get on the 2014 ballot.
Cummins Inc. is headquartered in Columbus, Ind.