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Web letter by Annette Gross: Adoption of HJR 6 would hasten erosion of our liberties

In January, state lawmakers will gather in Indianapolis to consider a piece of legislation that will destroy Hoosier families and send the message that our state is an unwelcoming place to live, study and work.

HJR 6 is a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would permanently define marriage (which is already defined as between one man and one woman under state law) and make it impossible for same-sex and unmarried couples ever to receive any protections. It would even prevent domestic partnerships and civil unions, and no one has any idea what effect it would have on health care coverage, human rights ordinances and other benefits offered by public and private employers.

I serve as the statewide coordinator for Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). We have nine chapters across the state, and we’ve been working for years to make sure all LGBT Hoosiers are treated with dignity and respect.

My son, Matthew, is gay. He is the most important person in my life, and I cannot bear the thought that this amendment will make his life more difficult. It makes me sad to know that if HJR 6 passes, it will send the message to LGBT Hoosiers that they are second-class citizens. My son is not a second-class citizen, and you can bet I’m going to fight to protect him. What mom wouldn’t?

But HJR 6 doesn’t just affect LGBT Hoosiers and their families. It’s an issue that touches everyone who shares a commitment to Indiana’s future and the well-being of all who choose to call our state home. That’s why parents like me have been working with Freedom Indiana, the statewide organization fighting the amendment, to spread the word that HJR 6 is bad law and Hoosiers should fight its passage.

The goal of Freedom Indiana is simple: build a bipartisan grassroots coalition to stop the amendment. We’ve helped make tens of thousands of phone calls and write thousands of letters to lawmakers to let them know HJR 6 will divide our state when we should be working together to tackle issues that will improve the quality of life for everyone.

As a mom and a volunteer, I made a vow that I would do everything in my power to stop this amendment from getting voted into the Indiana Constitution, and I hope you share that commitment. This holiday season, as you gather with friends and family, remember that this debate is about more than protections for same-sex couples: It’s about justice for all.

ANNETTE GROSS

PFLAG Statewide Coordinator

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