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Emmis, others choose sides in gay-marriage fight

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The opposing sides in Indiana's gay marriage battle continued lining up supporters Wednesday ahead of the 2014 legislative session.

Northern Indiana tea party group Kosciusko Silent No More will join the effort to place the state's gay-marriage ban in the constitution, President Monica Boyer announced Wednesday. The organizers of Freedom Indiana, which is opposing the amendment, meanwhile announced that Indianapolis-based media giant Emmis Communications Corp. was joining its effort.

The marking of sides comes as lawmakers prepare for their annual session in January. Supporters of limiting marriage to being between one man and one woman say a constitutional amendment is needed to keep the courts from legalizing gay marriage in Indiana. The state already bans gay marriage by law, but lawmakers began the lengthy process of placing the ban in the constitution in 2011.

If lawmakers sign off a second time on the strengthened ban, it would be placed on the ballot for voters to consider next November.

Thirty states have constitutional amendments banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage and five others ban it by law.

The ban won overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans in 2011, but national attitudes on the issue have changed in the last few years, and Indiana leaders seem to have noticed. Fourteen states and Washington, D.C., now allow gay marriage. Illinois lawmakers passed a measure Tuesday that would legalize same-sex marriage; the governor has said he will sign it.

Freedom Indiana, which launched over the summer to oppose the amendment, has the support of Indiana corporate giants Eli Lilly and Co., and Cummins Inc., along with several universities and other high-profile organizations. Their central argument has been that the ban would keep talented job-seekers and businesses from moving to Indiana.

"Indiana has traditionally had a friendly business environment that is the backbone of the Hoosier economy," Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a prepared  statement.

But Boyer said Wednesday that lawmakers and voters should consider the religious freedom of residents who believe marriage can only be between one man and one woman.

"Redefining marriage forces everyone else, including churches, schools, and business owners, to affirm homosexual relationships, denying people their religious freedom and opinion," she said in a prepared statement.

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  • Encouraged by Comments
    It has been refreshing to read the comments to this article. It appears that the majority of commenters believe in individual rights and are opposed to the gay marriage amendment. And, thanks to many in the business community for taking the long view on this issue. I am the father of a gay son who elected to move to NYC after college graduation due to the pervasive anti-gay culture in Indiana at the time. I am hoping the younger generations and others who have thought through this issue will push the Boyers and Tea Partiers of the state into the imperceptible background; they can continue to believe what they want without restricting the rights of others.
  • Everyone is wrong on this as usual
    There is only one sane and logical way to handle this: No government involvement in marriage of any kind whatsoever. Give me that option to vote. The pro gay marriage and pro traditional marriage arguments are just ideological psychobabble.
  • Choice
    Democracy should really be about freedom of choice... as long as those choices aren't harming another human being. The contraceptives are providing a choice. If you want to take birth control then take birth control. Nobody is stopping you and its not really hurting anyone. If you choose that you don't want to take it - fine, again, its not hurting anyone. Same with gay marriage. Its not hurting anyone if gays get married so why wouldn't you allow the same rights as straight couples? If you don't like gay marriage? Thats fine then don't get married to someone who is the same sex as you. I never understood why people care when it doesn't effect them? Everyone has their own belief system, but what should really matter is being accepting of others beliefs as long as it is not doing anyone any harm.
  • Bill, you have it backwards
    Contraceptives are a part of the healthcare system. You have to go the a pharmacist or doctor to be prescribed. They are used by women to prevent unwanted child birth. Your argument would make more sense if the government (Obamacare) outlawed contraceptives because they believed that human life begins at inception. That would then be imposing religious views. They aren't outlawing anything, just making all options available to those who want them.
  • RE: Freedom
    The government does impose its views into religion. Have you ever heard of Obamacare, and the requirement to include contraception in its healthcare plans?
    • Freedom
      Whatever happened to separation of church and state. It seems that folks like Ms. Boyer are more than happy to inject their religion into government and legal matters. How would they feel if the government were to impose its views into their religion. Also, she states that "Redefining marriage forces everyone else, including churches, schools, and business owners, to affirm homosexual relationships, denying people their religious freedom and opinion,". I fail to see how allowing same sex marriage would deny Ms. Boyer of her religious freedom or her opinions. The arguments she makes are the same ones used 50 years ago to try and justify racial discrimination. Thankfully, some of our political leaders had the wisdom to see past those weak arguments. Let's hope our current politicians can do so as well.
      • Amen
        Well said Steve. I am appalled that we are debating this issue and could be asked to vote on whether to include an inequality provision in our state constitution. This country has a long and ugly history of discrimination and it needs to stop. Now.
      • Oh, Really?
        I would like just one person to put forth a valid argument against marriage equality without resorting to their religious (non-quantifiable, by the way) views or to the fact that marriage provides a better atmosphere for rearing children. Please refer to the comment above re a 30-year relationship. The likelihood of bringing children into that relationship at this point is rather slim, wouldn't you agree?? How does marriage equality hurt so-called straight couples? HOW???
      • Rights
        Here's the thing about civil rights. They're rights. They don't get put before the people to vote on. Why? Because they're rights. No one or organization will be harmed by same-sex marriage other than conservatives who want to force their personal religious beliefs onto everyone else will have had their minority opinion disregarded. Period. Christians want to protect marriage? Then outlaw divorce, require pre-marital counseling, and a certificate of compatibility. Let people live their lives in happiness, not in discrimination.
        • Boyer
          "But Boyer said Wednesday that lawmakers and voters should consider the religious freedom of residents who believe marriage can only be between one man and one woman." Well what about the people that don't believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Just because the majority of a state is Christian doesn't mean we should just do whatever they want. There is a reason that this country was founded on separation of church and state. Maybe I should start my own church and denounce marriage between a man and a woman because I feel that it forces me to affirm "heterosexual marriage". It's just funny because the politicians love to tout how "business friendly" they are in the Hoosier state. Yet whenever two of the largest corporations come out against this amendment, the politicians ignore it. These corporations provide thousands of jobs to Hoosiers and it's sad that certain legislators are letting their OWN religious beliefs dictate legislation. Just because you deny gay people to get married, doesn't mean they are suddenly going to become straight. Gay people are still going to be together and be in relationships. This is just really a silly argument........
        • Just so you know
          I, for one, was being very deeply sarcastic. Chuck, however, seems quite earnest in his belief that the rights of minorities should be subject to the whims of the majority. Chuck needs a Constitutional law and perhaps an American History refresher.
        • No go
          The notion that heterosexual couples are due extra legal protections and $$ benefits over same-sex couples is convenient for you, yet very inconvenient to me and my partner of 30 years. Our tax dollars go towards your entitlements, yet yours do not go to ours. We're sick and tired of the religious saying that their rights are trampled on, and the irony is that they've been trampling on ours for thousands of years. Enough is enough - and no majority can continue suppressing a minority in this day and age. It's in our constitution.
        • Why Should We Vote?
          This is the United States. I'm just letting you guys know since most hoosiers seem to be forgetting that. In our country, we do not put people's rights up for a vote. Madison, "The great danger in republics is that the majority will not respect the rights of minorities." Guess he was right and realized what stupid, conservative states would be doing in the future.
        • I agree
          Let the people vote and, when it passes by a major majority, watch Indiana sink even further into economic obscurity. Give the voters what they want, I say. Maybe they can help Eli Lilly pack.
        • let the people vote
          Kudos to the IBJ for actually stating that HJR-6, if passed, would not change the state constitution but would place the decision to change the constitution with the voters. Very few outlets seem to report (or grasp?) that simple concept. We can expect the socially-liberal coalition of universities, corporate leaders, and media folks who make up Freedom Indiana (a self-proclaimed "grass roots" effort) to hit this issue hard while in the legislature since, if HJR-6 passes and is put to citizens, it will likely face the same prospects as similar amendments in other states--landslide victory. Few people doubt the huge, beneficial impact of marriage on society; and most recognize and appreciate the state's strong interest in granting certain legal privileges to the institution. Vast, bipartisan majorities in most states recognize that a constitutional amendment is a rational step to protect this time-tested institution from the capriciousness of legislatures and judges. The chorus of "dey tuk 'r jerbs" is unconvincing.

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