Give Indiana voters credit. They know what affects their property tax bills and what doesn’t. And we think they’re in no mood this election year for political pandering that distracts from the No. 1 issue at hand.
That’s the most important reason lawmakers should waste no time on a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage.
Rep. P. Eric Turner, R-Gas City, told the Indianapolis Star that he is willing to push the measure in the House, where it has failed on three attempts.
Sen. Brandt Hershman, the Wheatfield Republican who carried the bill in the Senate on each of those attempts, said he didn’t see any reason to tackle it again until his colleagues in the other chamber approve the measure.
To amend the constitution, lawmakers must approve a proposed measure in separately elected sessions of the General Assembly. The language was approved in the 2005 session, but died in committee last year. If it’s not approved this year, the process will have to begin anew.
There is no reason for it to pass this year or any year. Indiana has a law that prohibits same-sex marriage. The language of the proposed amendment is murky at best and would create more legal questions than it would answer.
Meanwhile, other states are quietly going the opposite direction from Indiana. Instead of adopting measures that take rights away from citizens, they are expanding rights. In 2007, New Hampshire joined Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey in offering civil unions. And Washington State and Oregon approved domestic-partnership laws to ensure legal rights for same-sex couples. Maine, California and Hawaii already have such laws.
Colorado, Iowa, Oregon and Vermont all banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, bringing to 12 the number of states with such anti-discrimination laws on the books. Nearly half of the U.S. population now resides in states that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Stateline.org, an authoritative Web site that reports involving issues with state governments across the nation.
It is foolish for Indiana, still lagging other states in economic recovery, to consider a measure that would alienate any potential investor. It’s even more foolish to consider such a measure when elected officials should be focused on tax restructuring.