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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Ind. Law - "Indiana gay marriage foes press on as tides shift"; Tide shifts for Lafayette Republican

Tom LoBianco of the AP reports today on those who favor banning same sex marriage via an amendment to the Indiana Constitution. Some quotes:

Opponents of same-sex marriage have spent more than a decade working to ensure that Indiana stayed true to its conservative roots by strengthening its stance against gay unions. But in a year that was expected to bring a crucial victory, they find themselves facing a strong headwind.

Federal courts have overturned gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah and the state Supreme Court did so in New Mexico. Nineteen states now allow gay marriage or civil unions.

Even in Indiana, support for a proposed amendment that would insert the state's ban on gay marriage into the constitution is wavering amid concerns about its impact on businesses' ability to attract top workers and offer domestic partner benefits.

Impassioned supporters of the ban aren't daunted. For them, the issue isn't about business needs or discrimination. It's about faith and values that they say would be compromised if Indiana doesn't take the extra step to ensure marriage can be between only a man and a woman. * * *

Religious groups pushing the amendment have used their weekends to activate digital networks of supporters. Indianapolis-based Advance America has provided phone numbers, emails and a call script, to pressure senators to restore the civil unions language that was stripped by the House when the chamber takes up the measure next week.

The Indiana Family Institute has sent out Facebook blasts urging supporters to press lawmakers. Referencing the ram's horn used to rally troops in biblical accounts, the group wrote on its page, "I'd blow the Shofar if I had one. Now is the time to act."

Opponents of the amendment, including universities, top employers and many mayors, have walked a careful line, avoiding discussions of morality while arguing that banning gay marriage in the constitution would hurt the state's pro-business image.

They claimed a victory when the Republican-controlled House voted cut out language that would also bar civil unions, a move that could restart the amendment process and delay a potential ballot vote until 2016. But they know the civil unions language could resurface before the Legislature adjourns in mid-March.

At the same time, the Layafette Journal Courier reports today, in a story by Dave Bangert, that State Sen. Ron Alting has announced that this time he will vote against the proposed amendment. From the long story:
Why the change in 2014?

“The reason is quite clear. My goodness, this vote go-around, compared to years ago, probably is 10 to 1 of my constituents … that are totally against this,” Alting said. “I’m not even kidding — 10 to 1.

“Why be a senator that’s going to show, not only to your constituents that you’re voting against their will, but to the rest of the country that you believe that Indiana is one that has very little respect for diversity and tolerance of other people?”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 8, 2014 02:49 PM
Posted to Indiana Law