State legislators discuss gay marriage, other issues

2014-02-08T17:45:00Z 2014-02-09T00:59:06Z State legislators discuss gay marriage, other issuesVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

UNION TOWNSHIP | Local elected officials addressed questions involving everything from economic development to gay marriage Saturday during a legislative forum.

Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso; Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes; Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso; and Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, answered submitted questions at the third annual forum hosted by the Porter County Retired Teachers Association at Wheeler High School.

About 45 people attended. Ralph Ayres, former state representative, moderated the forum. 

Legislators fielded a half dozen questions. Among them was one about House Joint Resolution 3, which would add Indiana's existing ban on gay marriage to the state constitution.

Soliday said so much attention has been given to the issue that the public would think that's the only item legislators are discussing.

"That is not the case," he said. "I spend less than 1 percent of my time on this subject."

Soliday said he voted to get it out of committee, then voted to remove the second sentence — which would have prohibited civil unions for same-sex couples — and voted to send the amendment to the Senate.

Soliday said the culture is changing.

"You'd have to be blind not to see where the trends are going," he said.

The Senate Rules Committee will take up House Joint Resolution 3 on Monday.

Moseley said he voted against it every time.

Tallian said she has never voted for any constitutional amendment in her nine years in office.

Charbonneau said he will see where the process leads at Monday's committee meeting.

The panel also addressed legislative issues regarding teacher pensions, economic development and drug testing for welfare recipients.

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