No need to reopen constitution
A proposed amendment to our Indiana State Constitution, if passed unamended by our legislature, may be on the November ballot for voter ratification. Our legislators are poised to adopt HJR 3, by which only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid. Never mind that this prohibition already exists in state law.
If ratified this fall, HJR 3 will plant a Stay Out! sign in our state’s constitution, clearly signaling who’s not entirely welcome: all same-sex couples or gay/lesbian singles who now, or ever, hope to marry. What if they married in another state? Invalid! Already together for 30 years? Sorry!
Our state constitution need not be reopened for every issue of the moment. To their credit, our state leaders did not bring single-class basketball or toll road management to the voters for constitutional sanction. Despite existing state law, proponents of HJR 3 hope a November referendum will permanently close further discussion in the courts.
Indiana’s law-abiding, productive gay/lesbian citizens are positioned, again, to suffer the tyranny of the majority. In the crosshairs are your own family members, neighbors, friends and co-workers. And you may know gay/lesbian local and state police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, EMTs and war veterans. Can they expect equal justice under law? They are the ones, after all, who risk their own lives or save ours, for a happier future.
This Senate vote is coming soon. Forward-leaning Hoosier voters and employers are enthusiastic about the rising, refreshing diversity of people in our state. Join them. Urge your senator today to reject HJR 3, all of it.
JIM NIXON Kendallville
Danes show the way again
Some people fear that if the federal minimum wage is raised, this will curtail their ability to lunch at McDonald’s. On June 25, 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act that set the minimum hourly wage at 25 cents an hour. Today, the minimum hourly wage stands at $7.25. Averaged over 76 years, that amounts to a raise of 9.5 cents a year.
Denmark has the highest minimum hourly wage in the world – $19, but this is not embodied in law. It is the result of negotiation between employers and employees in both the public and private sectors with no involvement whatsoever of the government.
Taxes are high in Denmark to pay for free medical care for all and free education for all up through university for those who qualify. As for the quality of the education, Denmark ranks first in the world along with three other countries. The U.S. ranks 21st. Do high taxes anger and frustrate Danes? Apparently not because the country enjoys the most equitable income distribution in the world and for years has been rated the happiest country in the world.
As for dining at McDonald’s, there are three locations to choose from in Copenhagen to serve a population of 1,213,822 (2012). That compares with 15 in Fort Wayne to serve a population of 255,824 (2011).
GEOFFREY WHEELER Fort Wayne
Wage hike not a game-changer
I appreciated Marian Daly’s succinct letter about Frank Gray’s column (Jan. 31).
Many people think that fast-food wages and other minimum-wage jobs are designed to be training wages for high school students and others entering the workforce, but this is increasingly not the case. Many people find themselves without work and must succumb to these lower-paying jobs to make ends meet. It is not always through lack of ambition, or even lack of motivation, but through necessity.
A higher minimum wage may prompt more people to take on these jobs and get off social assistance and unemployment. People deserve to be paid a wage that they can live on. They should not have to work two jobs and still have to collect food stamps to get by.
Other countries in the developed world have minimum wages that are much higher per capita than ours. These countries also have thriving fast-food businesses. The shop owners and restaurants didn’t close because they couldn’t make ends meet. Food and clothing prices will not soar; remember that the sales price is set by what the market will bear, not by what cashier makes per hour. Granted, the cost of labor is an important aspect in the cost of goods but it is not the single driving factor. People will continue to eat out at fast food restaurants, theaters will continue to show movies to crowds, stores will continue to sell clothing.
The world will not cease to exist as we know it.
LORNA SECUNDA Fort Wayne