EDITORIAL: Don't tinker with Indiana Constitution

2013-09-29T00:00:00Z 2013-09-30T18:00:16Z EDITORIAL: Don't tinker with Indiana Constitution nwitimes.com
September 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A new poll shows two-thirds of Hoosiers don't want the Indiana Constitution amended to ban same-sex marriage. This issue is going to be a hot potato in the Indiana General Assembly next year.

The resolution that aims to amend the Constitution would create a new prohibition on civil unions as well.

Civil unions have been seen as a means of extending to same-sex couples the same legal benefits extended via male-female marriages. Strictly speaking, though, even male-female marriages must be recognized by civil authorities to be considered legal. Calling it a civil union is splitting hairs.

Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly are pushing a constitutional amendment. Passing the resolution for the proposed amendment a second time next year would pave the way for the voters to decide on the amendment in November 2014.

But according to the Bellwether Research poll, 57 percent of Hoosier Republicans oppose the amendment. The survey found 64 percent of registered voters are against it.

This shows the majority of Hoosiers understand the problems with adding this prohibition -- which already exists by state statute -- to the Constitution.

There are legal challenges that could render this law obsolete. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules gays and lesbians should have the same civil rights as heterosexuals, including the right to marry anyone they choose, Indiana's law would be obsolete.

If it's in the Indiana Constitution, though, that's messy.

It needn't be a court opinion that overturns the law. Public opinion is shifting rapidly toward allowing same-sex marriages. In the recent poll, just 28 percent said there should be no legal recognition of rights for same-sex couples. Times are changing.

The business community also opposes the proposed amendment. Eli Lilly & Co., Cummins and others consider it a deterrent to economic development and to being able to hire top talent. Indiana should be seen as a pro-business state, not a repressive state.

The divisiveness this proposed constitutional amendment is creating needs to end.

Drop this effort to amend the Constitution, leave the ban on same-sex marriages in place for now, and see what the courts decide.

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