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Mayors speak out against amendment on gay marriage

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A bipartisan group of Indiana mayors, including those of some of the state's largest cities, announced their opposition Tuesday to placing Indiana's ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.

The mayors of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend and Hammond were among those expressing opposition because they said the proposed constitutional ban would hurt their cities economically and deny equal rights to same-sex couples.

"Indiana law already defines marriage and I don't see the overriding government interest in adding such an amendment to our state's constitution," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, said in a statement distributed by Freedom Indiana, a coalition of business groups and individuals fighting the amendment.

Fort Wayne's Tom Henry, a Democrat who leads the state's second-largest city, also came out against the constitutional ban in a statement also distributed by the coalition.

"We're asking the Indiana General Assembly to focus its attention on issues that help cities across our state be more competitive in economic development," Henry said.

If the proposed constitutional ban wins legislative approval in 2014, it then would go before voters in a referendum. Supporters of a constitutional ban say it's needed to solidify Indiana's law banning same-sex marriage against potential court decisions that would strike it down.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, a Republican, wrote southwestern Indiana lawmakers explaining his opposition to the proposed amendment. The Evansville Courier & Press reported that Winnecke wrote he considers the amendment unnecessarily divisive and that economic development, jobs and the quality of life are the most important issues for the state's third-largest city.

The other 11 mayors announced their opposition through Freedom Indiana. They included the mayors of South Bend, Hammond, Carmel, Valparaiso, Kokomo, Anderson, Bloomington, West Lafayette and Angola.

Micah Clark, executive director of the pro-amendment American Family Association of Indiana, told The Indianapolis Star he has not asked any mayors to speak out in support of the ban.

"It's like asking my mechanic for advice about my cholesterol," he said. "I think most mayors realize that this is not a city issue. It is an amendment that protects state statutes. These statutes are the purview of the General Assembly."

Clark said it's "amazing how many leaders want to tell the Legislature of their support for homosexual marriage, but they don't want the people to have their say next November, as 36 states have done. The future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters, not a few liberal mayors, CEOs or university presidents."

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  • liberal? really?
    Did Micah just call Republican Mayor Greg Ballard a liberal? Wow. This should serve as a reminder to Hoosiers just how far to the right some individuals are currently sitting. If we disagree, let's agree to disagree. Let's not call names, Micah. It only weakens your argument and makes me doubt the credibility of your organization.
  • Focus Legislators!
    Micah, the majority of Indiana voters you claim want to hear their voice heard on the matter would actually prefer that our legislators deal with real issues. If the independent poll released on 11/13/13 comes even close to reflecting actual sentiment, nearly two thirds of us want legislators to focus on other issues facing our state such as economic development, education, taxes, etc. Spending money during the legislative session to debate this and then the money required for additional voting/ballot costs amounts to a huge waste of taxpayer money. The leaders of many of our cities, elected by these same voters, have voiced our desire to move on and drop the push for a constitutional amendment. Indiana doesn't need to be on the wrong side of history on this one; quit wasting our time!
  • Here's an idea
    Let's all run all of our life decisions by Micah Clark first, since he seems to feel it's right and necessary that he be involved in events that are none of his business and affect him in no way whatsoever. Considering Thai for lunch? Call Micah! Want to review your PAP results? Micha's your man! Which college to attend? Micah has some input!
  • Mayabe they know what is best. You think?
    ''The future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters, not a few liberal mayors, CEOs or university presidents." I should hope the Hoosier voters would not be so dumb as to want to put the ban in our state's Constitution. Sheer stupidity.
  • Hmmm
    Mr. Clark says that "The future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters..." I wonder if Mr. Clark would have been in favor of leaving the rights of African-Americans in 1964 Mississippi in the tender hands of that state's voters...

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