RICH JAMES: GOP out of step on gay marriage

2013-06-30T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: GOP out of step on gay marriageBy Rich James nwitimes.com
June 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Why is it that some Indiana Republicans think the state ought to be the cradle of conservatism?

Why is it that immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court last week gave legally married gay couples equal federal standing with all other married Americans, Gov. Mike Pence and the GOP-controlled General Assembly said they will renew the push for a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, as well as prohibiting civil unions?

What are they trying to prove? What are they trying to gain?

Pence said he supports the constitutional amendment preserving opposite-sex marriage as a “unique institution” that “has served as the glue that holds families and societies together and so it should ever be.”

Well, golly, isn’t that the same institution that watches half of its marriages crumble into divorce?

Other than trying to lock in the votes of ultra-conservatives forever, I’m not sure what the Republican leadership is trying to do.

I do know they are continuing to bury their heads in the sand.

They obviously are quickly becoming the minority. A November poll conducted by Ball State University found that 54 percent of Hoosiers oppose a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage and civil unions.

What the GOP leadership is trying to do is write discrimination — some would call it hate — into the state’s constitution. Aren’t Hoosiers above that?

And, while the Republican leadership is opposed to marriage equality, gay marriage is becoming more accepted every day across the state and nation.

I suspect that is for a number of reasons, including that gays now can serve openly in the military, notable figures have come out of the closet and gays in every walk of life are now recognized as leaders. Also, there are fewer legal justifications for inequality.

But back here in Indiana, we have forgotten about Hoosier hospitality.

Pence and the other GOP leaders are telling gays they aren’t especially welcome in Indiana.

Hasn’t it been the mission of Pence and the legislative leaders to make Indiana the most attractive state in the country to do business?

What kind of message are they sending to companies sympathetic to the plight of gays and working to make things right?

What kind of message are they sending to an America that is increasingly embracing gay marriage?

The legislature will pass the gay marriage ban in 2014. That will set the stage for a statewide referendum on the issue in November 2014.

Indiana shouldn’t have to go through that, but it might be worth it.

Hoosiers will reject the ban on gay marriage because we are better than that.

Too bad Pence and the boys don’t realize that today.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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