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Gay-marriage ban will place state on wrong path

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Indiana’s General Assembly seems likely to consider a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage next year, despite a growing number of Hoosiers opposed to the idea.

Those who think the ban is a bad idea for the state include Indiana University and major employers such as Eli Lilly and Cummins, as well as the Indy Chamber of Commerce. The chamber agrees with what a growing number of companies are saying: intolerance is bad for business.

Legislation that would create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage overwhelmingly passed the Legislature in 2011 and if it does so again early next year, Hoosier voters will decide the issue in November’s general election.

The amendment would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and would also ban same-sex civil unions.

Republicans have super majorities in both legislative houses and the push to put the constitutional amendment in voters’ hands already has the support of Gov. Mike Pence, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate Pro Tem David Long.

Like a growing number of Hoosiers, we encourage state leaders to think hard about what a ban on same-sex marriage will do. Its impact goes far beyond stopping committed Hoosier couples from getting married. It creates the view that our state puts divisive social issues ahead of good government.

Hoosier leaders should be more worried about promoting economic development and securing funding for schools.

Indiana law already prohibits gay marriage and while we don’t expect that to change, Hoosiers aren’t exempt from the changing views toward same-sex couples and their rights.

Hawaii just voted to allow gay marriage and Illinois is fast headed in the same direction. Fourteen states, plus the District of Columbia, already allow same-sex marriage.

Much has changed since Indiana’s legislature voted in 2011 and while social conservatives may have the votes to advance the issue to a referendum, public support of a constitutional ban is waning.

A meeting Wednesday in Ferdinand drew nearly 50 people opposed to the proposed constitutional ban who will work to convince legislators it’s a bad idea for Hoosiers. Perry County folks were among those who attended.

Hoosiers of good faith will disagree about what constitutes marriage. Opinions are changing quickly and state leaders who support a ban on same-sex marriage will face the headwinds of a society that is fast concluding gays and lesbians should have all of the rights afforded to everyone else.

Indiana leaders should focus on what counts, ensuring Indiana offers every advantage possible when it comes to jobs and good schools.

If the Legislature advances a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the state’s future will be the real loser.

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