The Washington Times-Herald

February 1, 2014

HJR-3 may pass here, but bad for Indiana

The Washington Times-Herald

---- — This week, discussion and debate at the Statehouse has centered on House Joint Resolution 3, a resolution that would put the same-sex marriage ban in the Indiana Constitution.

The resolution, which passed the Indiana House this week, is set to begin deliberations in the Senate next week. Before passing the measure, the House did amend the resolution, deleting a second sentence that bans civil unions by same-sex couples.

The Senate can insert the sentence back in, and if it passes, the measure will be decided by voters this fall. Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in Indiana due to a 1997 law.

Normally, we would not tread in murky moral waters but on Monday, our Washington City Council voted 4-2 on a resolution urging state legislators not to pass HJR-3. The council’s resolution follows similar resolutions passed in cities like Indianapolis, New Albany, Evansville and elsewhere. The resolution was presented and written by Councilman Blake Chambers.

We agree with Chambers and the majority of the council. The resolution is wrong for Indiana.

It is understandable that a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage would pass here in Daviess County, where a substantial portion of this area’s population believes same-sex marriage is wrong based on our Christian faith.

But the question Chambers asked is whether the ban is good for Indiana as a whole, and it is not. When leading businesses and institutions like Cummins, Eli Lilly, Indiana University and other groups and organizations throughout the state say it will be a bad idea, we should heed their insight. They are trying to compete globally, and to do that, they need to have a place where they can recruit the best.

Other organizations and publications have also lent their voices against the ban. Judging by the coverage of the resolution, it seems there are few organizations that do support the ban. Even in the religious community, where most of the support for the ban originates, there is debate and many leaders oppose it.

This legislative debate has been divisive and political, and rather than focus on jobs and growing our state, this Legislature’s focus has been on HJR-3. If it passes, there will be a lengthy debate throughout the year on HJR-3. And, that’s a debate this community and state does not need.

No same-sex marriage has ever infringed on another Hoosier’s liberties. We want Indiana to be known for its Hoosier hospitality, not division and political firestorms.