News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 5, 2013

EDITORIAL: Building alliances for worthy cause

Hoosiers uniting to fight off ban on same-sex marriage

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — It is heartening to know that voices of reason are rising up to join the important debate about Indiana’s unwise and unfortunate effort toward entrenching discrimination into state law.

The Indiana General Assembly is expected to vote next winter on a proposal to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the November 2014 general election ballot.

The legislature has already passed the proposal once, but law requires it to pass constitutional changes in consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before being placed on the ballot. Lawmakers prudently chose to delay the matter earlier this year pending eagerly anticipated rulings on the issue by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

Two weeks ago, a coalition of business and human rights groups — including Eli Lilly and Co. and Indiana Equality Action — joined together to form a new organization called Freedom Indiana. The alliance hopes to spark a statewide movement to defeat passage of the same-sex marriage ban amendment.

Polls indicate most Hoosiers oppose placing the same-sex marriage ban in the constitution, but that’s unlikely to stop some Republicans in the legislature from trying to get it on the ballot next year. Even so, there are a number of legislative Republicans already speaking out against the marriage-ban amendment, including state Sen. Luke Kenley, the chair of the powerful Senate appropriations committee.

Freedom Indiana will certainly embrace Kenley’s support and try to build on it. Business leaders joining the coalition argue that a constitutional same-sex marriage ban could damage the state’s image and make it harder to recruit new employees.

As we have stated previously, no one expects Indiana’s elected officials, or Hoosiers in general, to lead the way in the movement to legalize same-sex marriage. But it’s not too much to expect that the state take a more measured approach on such a volatile and evolving issue.

We wish Freedom Indiana well in its bipartisan crusade and hope many more Hoosier businesses and institutions will lend their voices to the cause. Likewise, we urge west-central Indiana’s legislative delegation to pay close attention to the message this group will deliver in coming months.

Hoosiers need not be subjected to a costly, divisive and bitter political campaign over this issue. It would be an unnecessary distraction from legislative activities that promise far more positive and productive results for our state.