News and Tribune

Floyd County

November 20, 2013

New Albany City Council to take a position on gay marriage ban

Non-binding measure opposes state resolution

NEW ALBANY — It’s not within the city’s jurisdiction, but the New Albany City Council may join other groups in stating its opposition to a proposed state amendment that would ban same sex marriage.

The council will vote on a non-binding resolution tonight opposing the Statehouse measure that would define marriage in Indiana as solely between one man and one woman.

“There’s really no need for this constitutional amendment,” said Councilman Greg Phipps, who is the sponsor of the New Albany resolution.

“I just think it’s sort of a very hateful thing that’s possibly been put in play for political reasons.”

In the language of the resolution, Phipps cites institutions and corporate entities within the state such as Indiana University, Eli Lilly and Co. and Cummins Engines that have opposed the amendment.

The state measure doesn’t just hurt homosexuals, as it could limit and complicate the ability of some Indiana residents to obtain health care, garner power of attorney privileges and mandate their true wishes in their wills because of the affect it will have on domestic partnerships, Phipps continued.

“It’s going to take away a lot of rights for heterosexuals too,” he said.

Floyd County resident Larry Michael Summers is vice president of Indiana Equality Action, which is part of the Freedom Indiana coalition.

He said the proposed amendment — House Joint Resolution 6 —goes against some of the most important Hoosier values in fairness and liberty.

Summers plans on attending tonight’s meeting and voicing his support for the city council resolution. 

“It’s also important to show businesses that New Albany is on the forefront of this fight so we can continue to attract top talent to our area,” he said.

“Some of the largest employers in the state and educational institutions are opposing HJR-6 because they understand the economic harm it will cause to the state of Indiana.”

New Albany has already been on the forefront of the equality fight in some regards. Last year, the city became one of the first in Indiana to establish a Human Rights Commission charged with defending residents against discrimination based on race, religion and sexuality.

The human rights commission has also spoken about the issue, as the body sent a letter to the council asking it to join the group in opposing the state amendment.

“While 16 states and Washington, D.C. have charged forward and passed legislation for same sex marriage, domestic partnership, or protections for same sex couples, Indiana will be doing a disservice to its residents by passing this legislation,” the human rights commission letter stated.

“The [commission] finds this type of legislation to be a direct violation of the Bill of Rights, previous Supreme Court rulings and even our very own ordinance.”

Republican lawmakers in favor of the amendment have stated the measure could be voted on during the upcoming session. It would then be up for the public to decide, as voters must cast a ballot on constitutional amendments.

If the amendment makes its way through both state chambers, it could be on the ballot as early as next November.

Tonight’s council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m., and will be held in the third floor Assembly Room of the City-County Building.

The measure opposing the marriage amendment is the only resolution or ordinance on tonight’s agenda.

 

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