The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Opinion

February 20, 2014

Editorial: Gay marriage ban over — for now

The Statehouse debate and debacle involving the rights of gay Hoosiers to live a good life in this state is far from over.

HJR 3 — Indiana's proposed constitutional same-sex marriage ban — was approved 32-17 by the Indiana Senate. But its vindictiveness was weakened before the vote. Its controversial second sentence was removed, which would have halted the General Assembly, in years to come, from ever allowing civil unions or domestic relationships. That sentence was clearly unfair to future generations.

Neither side won in the Senate vote. Supporters complained that it was now watered down. Opponents argued against it as a form of discrimination.

Either way, it likely won't go to Hoosier voters — who have to approve constitutional changes — before 2016. In addition, two separately elected legislatures must approve constitutional amendments with the same language before going to voters.

That may be an encouraging sign since it postpones a divisive vote. It does not end the fervor by which both sides have cast Indiana in a dim light.

The proposed amendment is clearly bad for business. Companies seeking to locate here may fear the impact of the law on their workforce. And the Indiana General Assembly must find ways to encourage business and industry to open here.

It's been said time and again — our legislature must focus on more pressing concerns involving the economy, jobs, education and public safety. The proposed marriage ban amendment fits none of those issues.

Both sides will likely tackle new strategies. Hoosiers would be more interested in seeing that energy work toward solving economic dilemmas.

One of the opponents, Sen. Timothy Lanane, D-Anderson, has been eloquent in his speeches against the ban. He should never waver in his opposition. Yet, Lanane and other opponents may have to maintain their motivation in fighting this ban.

The debate is over for this session. It has drawn our legislators away from real issues. It has taken up too much of every Hoosier's time.

In summary The debate over a gay marriage constitutional ban is over but opponents must maintain the fight.

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