Today, there will be more suits than ever, as a growing number of Indiana companies, such as WellPoint Inc., Cummins Inc. and Dow AgroSciences LLC, throw their support behind the cause of the state's gay community.
The companies are setting up vendor booths in Downtown Indianapolis' University Park, mixing it up with the thousands of gay supporters and demonstrators, and passing out literature on themselves.
For some employers, its about recognizing diversity in their workforce. For others, it's pure economics. Smith cites a Witeck-Combs Communications study which shows that gay consumers' income has an estimated buying power of $641 billion this year--up more than $30 billion from last year. This year will mark the first time WellPoint and Cummins, two of Indiana's largest employers, have participated in the event. "It's the first year (for us), and we'll continue to look at opportunities in the future," said WellPoint spokesman Jim Kappel." Smith adds, "Cummins spokesman Mark Land couldn't explain why the Columbus engine manufacturer chose this year, and not years past, to sign up. But he did say diversity and equal opportunity employment efforts are both very important to the company. Cummins was one of the first major employers in the state to have domestic-partner benefits."