MARC CHASE: True conservatives know when to keep hands off

2014-02-18T00:00:00Z MARC CHASE: True conservatives know when to keep hands offMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
February 18, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Sometimes failure creates the perfect opportunity to get back to one's roots — to discard the distractions of ill-advised ventures.

A constitutional gay marriage ban failed Thursday to clear the Indiana Senate hurdle necessary to be placed on Hoosiers' November ballots. The failure opens a window for conservatives to get back to what they do best: keeping their hands off.

It was a political football — a distraction from more pressing state needs — this attempt to chisel morals into our state's constitution.

And it was excessive. Indiana law already defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Indiana Republicans — with whom I agree on so many fiscal issues — really got it wrong when they sought to spike the football by seeking a constitutional ban via voter referendum.

Let's not mince words here. Attempts to ban gay marriage are largely based in religious beliefs.

I respect and honor all who take their religious convictions seriously — who strive to live what they preach via the Old or New Testaments, the Torah or any other religious doctrines that seek the best for mankind.

This includes respect for those who — by their own doctrines' teachings — believe gay marriage is wrong.

Teach your children these lessons. Hold them dear. But don't force them on someone else.

The most conservative of our forefathers realized this country could find one of its greatest strengths by keeping one moral power from unduly infringing upon or oppressing another. The forefathers chose to keep church separate from state, in part for this very reason.

An attempt to carve such values — even if held by the majority — into our state's most important government pact smacks of one moral side attempting to compromise another.

What motivates this, beyond one ideological group attempting domination?

Gay people pay taxes. They work. You can find pleasant, ornery, giving and selfish folks in the gay community, probably at the exact rate as in the circles of straight folks.

Traditional marriage works great for me. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I suspect that has something to do with not being gay.

But I know plenty of people who are gay, some dear friends and some members of my extended family.

They don't parade their gayness or perform victory dances.

They treat me with respect. And so I must remember the moral code with which I was raised: Treat others as you would have them treat you.

Indiana conservatives have every opportunity to continue this constitutional marriage ban quest through future legislative attempts.

Or they could return to the true roots of conservatism — and our nation's greatest founding principles.

The right side of government is not the one seeking to further cram an existing law down the throats of others who don't share their same moral beliefs.

The right side is the one keeping its hands off people's personal lives and seeking fiscally responsible government.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or marc.chase@nwi.com. The opinions are the writer's.

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