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Daniels: Some firms concerned about marriage bill

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Gov. Mitch Daniels said Wednesday he has been hearing from companies that fear that a measure that would put Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution might also prevent firms from offering benefits to gay couples.

The measure was approved by lawmakers last year and could come up for a vote again next year. If approved twice, it would go before voters in 2014.

The language in the constitutional ban would go further than barring marriage. It would bar "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals," potentially prohibiting benefits for gay couples typically associated with marriage.

Daniels says he heard from companies on the issue as recently as Wednesday morning but gave little specifics. Daniels has never taken a position on the issue and declined Wednesday to say whether he supports the ban.

"They wouldn't want their ability to offer benefits and that sort of thing limited. They think it's fair. They think it's important at least in case of some of their employees," he said.

Indiana businesses, including Eli Lilly and Cummins, testified against the ban in 2011, arguing it could hurt their efforts to lure talented workers to Indiana. Daniels said Wednesday he understood that argument, but also pointed out that Indiana would join other states that banned gay marriage in their constitutions.

Daniels, who is leaving office, did not have to sign the ban the first time lawmakers approved it because constitutional amendments do not require the governor's signature. Asked for his own thoughts on gay marriage, he declined to say, noting he did not want to influence lawmakers and incoming Gov.-elect Mike Pence on the issue.

Despite a likely easy road to passage a second time in the Legislature, it remains unclear if the measure would be pushed through during next year's session or in 2014. And action from the U.S. Supreme Court, which announced last week it would take up a pair of cases on the broader issues, could make any action in the states moot.

Opponents of the ban who met with Pence's transition team say they were told pushing the proposal would not be a "priority" for the new governor. And the lead House sponsor of the measure in 2011, state Rep. Eric Turner, Cicero Republican, said earlier this month he was not sure if or when he would introduce the measure for its second approval.

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  • Constitutional Ban
    If the state constitution is changed to ban gay marriage, it was just make it that much harder to reverse the decision later. I have faith that Hoosier voters won't go for it even if it does pass congress the second time.
  • Terry's comment about Michigan
    Terry, while I agree with almost all of what you say, and absolutely do not want the state to pass this ban, it is a bit shortsighted to think that businesses using gay marriage as a wedge issue might move to Michigan instead. After all, Michigan already has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. . And for those calling the state backwards, bear in mind that Indiana is one of the last states to have NOT yet passed legislation. Something like 29 states already have same-sex bans enshrined in their constitutions.
  • yes, ridiculous
    i agree - government should be inclusive, not exclusive and should stay out of our private lives. tired of seeing our elected officials waste time that should be spent on other issues.
  • Big mistake. Big. Huge.
    Companies that are looking for a new home will just keep on shopping. They won't even look our way.
  • Does the Governor Read this ?
    Mitch and Mike, do you guys read what your voters write here? If you do, you can see the impatience that is felt with your refusal to take a stand. MIKE ! You won the election !! time to start stating who you are!
  • Ridiculous
    Glad everyone on here seems to realize that the government should stay our of our private lives. Work on Education, Jobs, reducing debt, maintaining infrastructure, etc. But get out of our personal lives!
  • Inclusive not Exclusive
    For this State to excel, we need to be inclusive of people and new ideas. This "fear" of gay marriage is such a waste of time and resources. The Holy Right needs to remember there is a SEPARATION of church and state in this country.
  • No Leadership
    Republican leaders will need to find another minority group to play political games with, especially considering the Supreme Court will hopefully put an end to discriminatory policies against gay people in 2013. Many lies have been told and elections won all in the name of the Republican "God", but this chapter in American history cannot come to an end soon enough.
  • Backwards Indiana
    This ''holier than thou'' state is a real joke. It is really a Bible Belt state that has no interest in anything or anyone other than their stupidity on religion and their own petty ideas.
  • It has no business in the State Constitution
    This is NOT what the Constitution is for. To think that in the 21st Century we would be so ignorant is appalling. I don't think it will cause a mass exodus of business as most companies that are offering these benefits are not Small Businesses. It certainly could cost us future Businesses that recognize Gay rights Corporately and would look at this as an inhospitable location for some of their people. It's sad our political leaders don't have the courage to take a stand on the issue. It's a pretty solidly Republican state, they have plenty of political capital but apparently not much character capital.
  • Reduces Future Prospects
    Indiana better be careful with this one. Companies that are currently in Indiana might elect to pullout of Indiana rather than face legal expenses going forward. As for prospects currently analyzing a possible plant or corporate move to Indiana, those firms are going to pass on Indiana, for long term legal reasons. With Michigan becoming a right to work state, and Michigan's strong support for new business, I think Indiana will lose big-time on this one.
  • Marriage Ban Up For Vote?
    What kind of ignorant person would vote for such a thing? How backwards is this state?

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