So, what's the Mayor of a big, diverse city to do after the 2015 Indiana Legislative Debacle? The session that came complete with the national embarrassment called RFRA?
Here's the press release from Indy Pride:
INDY PRIDE, INC. ANNOUNCES MAYOR BALLARD AS THE 2015 PARADE GRAND MARSHAL.
5/21/15, Indianapolis — Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade Grand Marshals are local heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT community specifically and to society at large. Indy Pride, Inc., recognizes the efforts of these individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, because of their efforts to achieve equality in their particular fields and the steadfast diligence with which they strive to accomplish them. As recognition for his continued support, Indy Pride, Inc., is pleased to have Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard as this year's Grand Marshal.
While the divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) threatened to tarnish the much heralded Indiana motto, "Hoosier Hospitality," it also emboldened long-time LGBT allies, including Mayor Ballard, to send a clear message that Indy supports the LGBT community. From his staunch opposition to HJR-3's attack on marriage equality in 2014 to his equally strong stance against RFRA earlier this year, Ballard has long been an ally for Indy's LGBT community.
In March, Mayor Ballard issued an executive order defending his LGBT constituents and demanding a repeal of RFRA. "Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity," Ballard said. "Discrimination is wrong."
As early as 2012, Ballard favored a bill establishing domestic partnerships for all married and unmarried employees of the city and county, which he signed into law in August of that year.
“I am honored to serve as this year’s Grand Marshal, and I look forward to celebrating Circle City IN Pride Week with our LGBT community,” said Mayor Ballard. “For decades, our city has been recognized as one of the world’s most welcoming communities. Hoosier Hospitality is alive and well, and the Pride Parade is going to be a great opportunity to demonstrate that.”
Ballard showed solidarity with the Indianapolis LGBT community with his "Welcome to Indianapolis" letters each year for Circle City IN Pride Week. He continued his public support when he renewed the wedding vows of loving couples — gay and straight — at a ceremony at the City Market in 2014.
“Indiana has seen an incredible amount of progress over the last year that has changed the lives of LGBT people in the state of Indiana forever,” says Chris Morehead, Indy Pride President. “Mayor Ballard has been an incredible supporter of the LGBT Community here in Indianapolis for quite some time, ensuring that we are a city that truly welcomes all.”
The parade’s long time chair, Shere Brooks, agrees. “I am honored to have our first sitting Mayor join the ranks of the Grand Marshal for our Parade.”