The Herald Bulletin

June 30, 2013

Editorial: No constitutional ban needed for same-sex marriage

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The dignity of gay couples was upheld this week with the Supreme Court ruling in two cases addressing same-sex marriage.

In one, the ruling struck down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Federal benefits can been extended to gay couples.

In the other case, California’s Proposition 8 was dismissed, paving the way for gay marriages in that state. Other states can decide for themselves.

Same-sex marriage is growing in acceptance. Ten years ago, about 51 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 32 accepted gay marriage. Today, 70 percent do, according to the Pew Research Center. Acceptance has been growing across all ages during that time, too.

The latest Supreme Court rulings mean that same-sex marriage is sanctioned in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Indiana law currently bans same-sex marriage.

With acceptance growing for gay marriage, it is disheartening that some Indiana lawmakers are sending a knee-jerk reaction that could tie the state up in years of a losing legal battle.

Republican leaders want the ban written into the state constitution. Many are pushing for it to be considered in the 2014 legislative session. Gov. Mike Pence voiced his support for the measure and for Hoosiers to reaffirm a “commitment to traditional marriage.”

This reaction disregards the dignity of same-sex couples who value marriage as a lifelong commitment. Hoosiers are tired of Statehouse politicos trying to legislate morality.

Pence and other Statehouse Republicans should come to understand that the ruling does not declare gay marriage a fundamental right that all states must respect. Indiana’s law, while seemingly archaic, does not need to be amended to the constitution. If the action passed the General Assembly, voters would have their say in 2014. Look at the numbers of those accepting same-sex marriage — should we go through this non-essential process?

Indiana should not duck for cover and amend the state constitution to prevent same-sex marriage. This is a civil rights battle for this age.

Let’s not look back 20 years from now and find the state discriminates against any Hoosier seeking to marry.

Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage reflect trends. Indiana should pay attention.