NEW ALBANY — It's not every day you see someone riding a modified elliptical machine around the state of Indiana.
That is exactly what Philip Cooper was thinking when he decided to take his message to the streets. No better way to get attention than to do something out of the ordinary, he said, like ride an elliptical which has no seat.
The 61-year-old Bloomington resident left June 2 for a 30-day ride around the state on his customized elliptical, which is similar to a bike. His wife, Ruth Ann, is joining him on the journey by driving the family camper.
The two are passionate about telling as many Hoosiers as possible that House Joint Resolution 6 does not need to be added to Indiana's constitution.
The resolution states that: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."
The resolution has already cleared the first hurdle and could wind up on the ballot in 2014. The two sport yellow T-shirts on their journey which state: "With Liberty and Justice for all: We've all said it, do we mean it?"
The Coopers' daughter is gay and the two said a small faction in the state legislature is pushing the resolution through even though they believe the majority of Hoosiers are against it. They said many religions across the state accept gay marriage and gay rights.
"A lot of people have a misunderstanding when it comes to marriage. There are two meanings — the first is a contract with the state between two parties and the other meaning of marriage is the sacrament performed by various religious institutions," Cooper said. "This is completely optional. Some people do this and some just go to the courthouse, but they are both still legally married."
Cooper said he tries to spread his message when approached by people who ask him about his cause or about his unique riding machine. He was in Madison on Monday and was leaving New Albany on Thursday for Salem en route to Seymour.
His trip will end back in Bloomington in time to participate in a July 4 parade. He is riding along state roads and U.S. highways in order to be seen by as many motorists as possible.
"People respond to the vehicle (elliptical) and approach me, and that opens the door for conversation," Cooper said. "When we stop we try to position ourselves so people can see us and will maybe ask questions. The goal is simple, we just want to get the message out.
"If this ever appears on ballot we want people to vote no."