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November 23, 2013

Local officials weigh in — or don’t — about gay marriage amendment

Area business agencies say they haven't formed an opinion

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — A fight over an amendment banning gay marriage is heating up in the Indiana Statehouse.

Already, several government boards and commerce agencies have spoken out against Indiana House Joint Resolution 6 — which would allow for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman — saying that it will hurt Indiana’s potential and attractiveness to employees and employers.

The New Albany City Council, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and Indianapolis City-County Council have come out publicly against the amendment. Major Indiana employers like Eli Lily Co. and Cummins, as well as Indiana University, Ball State University and Butler University have also voiced opposition to the bill.

If the resolution passes through the general assembly, it would be placed on the 2014 ballot for Hoosier voters to decide whether or not the state’s constitution will define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

But locally, few organizations have yet to take official action on the proposed amendment.

NEW ALBANY OPPOSITION

After the New Albany Human Rights Commission wrote an open letter to the body seeking its support, the New Albany City Council approved on Thursday a nonbinding resolution that opposes HJR-6.

“For the first time, support for gay marriage is now higher than that who oppose it,” the commission wrote in the letter. “Indiana will be doing a disservice to its residents by passing this legislation. If passed, HJR-6 will prevent any legislation from being passed in the future including legal protections for same sex couples.

“We understand that this would be a nonbinding resolution, but we are asking that you stand beside us on the right side of history, and tell Indianapolis not to pass this legislation and allow our great state the ability to move forward with the rest of the country.”

Similar feelings were echoed by council members and residents during Thursday’s meeting, as the resolution was approved 7-1-1.

“Honestly it’s a politicized question, that’s what it boils down to,” Democratic Councilman Dan Coffey, who supported the city resolution, said of the proposed state amendment.

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