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From: Joshua Ratliff
Received: Sept. 19
I respectfully but vehemently disagree with Don Strietelmeier’s letter published on Sept. 13. As a citizen of Columbus and employee of Cummins, I salute the company’s decision to support Freedom Indiana, an organization working to strike down the HJR-6 anti-freedom amendment. This amendment is an unprovoked attack against marriage equality in Indiana.
I believe Cummins truly cares about every employee. It’s easy to see why Cummins was recognized last year as one of the Top 25 Companies to Work For by Forbes. The company makes a genuine effort to make everyone feel respected. Regardless of where my co-workers are from, the color of their skin or sexual orientation, I want them to be able to do their work easily and comfortably. To me, professionalism is seen in a company with the best employees and the most satisfied customers.
Cummins regulates employee behavior at work, but not employee beliefs. I feel I am a better human being because of the business environment I work in at Cummins.
I am proud to be married. Mr. Strietelmeier’s letter argues, “For thousands of years, marriage has been understood to be the union of one man and one woman.” Anything that has lasted thousands of years has survived through adaptation. Marriage is no different. It is a beautiful and perfect expression of the love, passion and commitment of two individuals to one another.
In spite of negative sentiments expressed by a few, it is clear to me attitudes are changing toward making marriage a more inclusive institution. I believe a few years from now we’ll scratch our heads and wonder why some individuals felt it their right to judge the legitimacy of a couple’s love for one another. We’ll laugh at what the fuss was all about. There are obviously some who feel threatened by this prospect, but I believe this issue will define our generation.
Accusing Cummins of reverse discrimination is puzzling, at best. The idea that Cummins’ support of Freedom Indiana “implies that talent cannot be found outside [LGBT]” is absurd. Cummins competes for talent and customers in a global marketplace. Talent comes packaged in many different shapes, sizes, colors and sexual orientations.
I loathe his phrase, “imitation marriage.” People have used religious beliefs as justification for hate and intolerance for a thousand years. The threat that Cummins should “go ahead and encourage (same-sex marriage and see how much of the best talent you can find in a generation or two” is fearful, xenophobic rhetoric that must be stood up against. It is acceptable to acknowledge contrary beliefs but uncivil to try to impose your beliefs on others.
LGBTQ activists (as well as many of my friends and family and people I work with who are not activists) use the word intolerance to describe behavior that is hurtful to others in their community. I think our community should be a place where everyone is welcome regardless of beliefs, provided their belief doesn’t harm others. That is an important distinction in this argument that should be made very clear. Equality of marriage is not hurting people, inequality is.
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