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‘Young Hoosiers’ Band Together to Defend Traditional Marriage

When a large group of college students and young professionals recently converged at the Indiana Statehouse and threw their support behind a bill that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, many people reacted with surprise.

That’s because the most vocal opponent of the bill, a group called Freedom Indiana, has consistently framed the marriage debate as an older generation versus younger generation struggle, in which the latter is more accepting of change.

Yet the Young Hoosiers for Marriage group told lawmakers that not all young people want to see the traditional definition of marriage dissolve.

Young Hoosiers is a fairly new, grassroots organization that formed primarily through social networking. In an interview with The College Fix, Julie Kitchel, a member who spoke at the statehouse, said that Young Hoosiers don’t believe the state should incentivize motherless and fatherless homes.

“We formed because it was becoming more and more clear that our beloved red state may not pass the bill,” said Kitchel, a junior in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University who joined Young Hoosiers after being approached by a friend.

“I agreed to be a part of it because I realized that this was a cause that needed a voice and I wanted to be a part of that voice,” Kitchel said.

Many insist that the marriage debate is shifting away from traditional views on behalf of millennials, who are purported to be more in favor of redefining marriage. People like Kitchel, who believe marriage should remain unchanged, are often ignored because they chip away at the narrative that the marriage debate is young versus old.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the way young adults are portrayed in the media and television today,” Kitchel said. “In addition to a lack of outlets for younger generations to express their more conservative voice and support, there also seems to be a bit of an intimidation factor, ‘peer pressure’ if you will, for those of our younger generation to be quiet or be more ‘tolerant.'”

“I think that if our leftist counterparts were as tolerant of our cause as they demand us to be of theirs we would find that there are many more young Hoosiers willing to stand up and share their voice.”

Since the Young Hoosiers went public, their organization has been mentioned in various local and national media outlets like the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly, and the Huffington Post. Kitchel even penned an opinion piece in the IndyStar, which Kitchel described as an “interesting experience.”

“While this is not the first time I have taken a public stance on an issue, it was the first time I really got any recognition,” Kitchel said. “I expected there to be comments on the opinion piece, but what I did not expect were mailed letters with no return address, or the angry messages on Facebook.”

Despite some negative feedback, Kitchel told The College Fix that she received messages from people thanking her for taking a strong stance for traditional marriage.

“There were just as many who reached out and thanked me for taking a stand and lending my voice as there were those who tried to intimidate me into silence,” Kitchel said.

Currently, 33 states prohibit same-sex marriage, including Indiana, while 17 states allow it. The Indiana Senate ended up upholding the bill in support of traditional marriage after a 32-17 vote, but stripped the bill of its ban on civil unions, a move that could leave marriage vulnerable to redefinition, according to Young Hoosiers member Shane Weist.

Kitchel said Young Hoosiers will continue to speak out in support of traditional marriage.

“We ultimately are here to show that we stand for preserving the truth about marriage,” Kitchel said. “It doesn’t change from generation to generation. We are not going away.”

College Fix contributor Crystal Hill is a student at Indiana University.

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