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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "IndyStar Editorial: Say no to same-sex marriage amendment"

On the eve of the convening of the 2014 Indiana General Assembly, the Indianapolis Star has this editorial today - some quotes:

Members of the Indiana General Assembly could drag this state into an unnecessary, counterproductive argument over same-sex marriage that not only would last most of 2014 but also do nothing to confront the most pressing issues facing Hoosiers.

Or lawmakers could make a much wiser decision: Allow HJR-6 to die during this year's session, which starts Monday. * * *

What would be gained by it all? Nothing of value. Pass or fail, the amendment would not change existing law in a state where same-sex marriage already is prohibited and no serious effort is being mounted to change that fact.

And, if the amendment is passed, the argument almost certainly would not end in November. Lawsuits likely would follow, and that's a scenario that should prompt opponents of same-sex marriage to ask themselves a pertinent question: Do they really want a federal judge to determine Indiana's final position on same-sex marriage?

The U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned California's constitutional ban on gay marriage. A federal judge recently lifted Utah's ban. Opponents of same-sex marriage could inadvertently trigger the same result here if they insist on pressing ahead with an amendment.

The nearly year-long debate over the amendment also would send harmful messages to the rest of the nation and world about what Hoosiers truly value. * * *

By virtue of its late entry into the discussion of a constitutional ban, Indiana would become the subject of intense focus in the national and international media. The signals sent to potential employers and workers from outside Indiana would trumpet that we are a state that does not welcome diversity. * * *

Bottom line: HJR-6 is unnecessary; same-sex marriage is already banned by state law. The debate would be counterproductive; like it or not, the argument would define our state this year and in the future in the minds of many Americans. The legal fight would be ongoing; lawsuits and federal court rulings almost certainly would follow in the years ahead.

It's a fight we don't need. A distraction from more important issues such as education and the economy that we can't afford.

For the good of our state, the General Assembly needs to say no to HJR-6.

Also today, John Ketzenberger's Sunday Star column, Business Insider, lists the following as one of five issues at the forefront for Indiana in 2014:
Indiana also missed an opportunity to streamline tax filing for same-sex couples legally married in other states who gained access to federal tax benefits in part of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act discussed in October.

Wisconsin and Michigan also bar same-sex marriages, but chose to create a simple worksheet to decouple information on federal joint returns for use on state single returns. It's an approach endorsed by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation as a way to reduce bureaucratic confusion.

Indiana, where slicing through regulations is supposedly sacrosanct, chose not to create a similar worksheet to streamline the process.

For more, start with this ILB entry from Nov. 21st, headed "Same-sex Indiana couples must file separate tax returns."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 5, 2014 10:36 AM
Posted to Indiana Government