EDITORIAL: No need to amend Indiana Constitution

2012-12-23T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: No need to amend Indiana Constitution nwitimes.com
December 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Hoosier voters could vote in 2014 on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. The Indiana General Assembly should prevent this vote from happening.

Indiana law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The debate is on whether to spell this out in the Indiana Constitution to make the law more difficult to reverse.

Public opinion on gay marriage has evolved rapidly in recent years.

Let the debate over same-sex marriage continue, weighing the pros and cons of legalization and of continuing Indiana's current ban.

The Howey/DePauw Battleground Poll, conducted just before the Nov. 6 election, found Hoosiers are almost evenly split on the constitutional amendment. The poll was cosponsored by The Times Media Company.

A Nov. 12-24 Ball State University poll found 54 percent of Hoosiers opposed the constitutional amendment, compared to 38 percent who support it.

Nationally, 48 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage while 43 percent oppose it, according to the results of Pew Research Centers polls released this year.

Lame duck Gov. Mitch Daniels said recently he wouldn't comment on the proposed constitutional amendment but that a family headed by a same-sex couple "sure beats single parenthood."

Daniels is the Republican fiscal conservative who famously urged the GOP to declare a social truce and focus on fiscal issues.

His successor, Gov.-elect Mike Pence, has been a strong opponent of same-sex marriage but said he would defer to the leaders in the General Assembly on that issue. "Now is the time for Hoosiers to focus on getting this economy moving," Pence said.

To put this issue before the voters in 2014, the General Assembly would have to vote in favor of the constitutional amendment in either 2013 or 2014.

Even as Indiana's constitutional amendment is being considered, though, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Dec. 7 to review two cases related to same-sex marriage. The court's ruling could affect Indiana's existing law.

Even if it doesn't, constitutional amendments should be rare. This is not one of those exceptions. There's no need to amend the Constitution to accomplish what state law already provides.

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