Civil Discourse Now

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After IRS announcement, marriage equality makes even more economic sense: Saturday's Show about LGBT rights and Indiana's proposed constitutional amendment.

   The IRS has announced that same-sex married couples will be treated as married for income tax purposes even if the State in which a couple resides does not recognize marriage equality. As our friend Gary Welsh points out at "Advance Indiana," this presents a problem for Governor Pence and the General Assembly. Indiana generally follows Federal income tax procedures. If the "marriage is only between one man and one woman" is adopted by the Indiana General Assembly, filing of income tax returns will be more complicated.

   Another aspect has to do with businesses and their decisions to locate, or if already here remain, in Indiana. As I noted yesterday, Eli Lilly and Cummins have come out in support of Freedom Indiana and its opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment that would make marriage discrimination part of our State's constitution---for a very short time, in all likelihood. Large businesses seem to understand that younger, better-educated members of the work-force are attracted to places where there is less discrimination. Those businesses want to hire the best people. If Indiana wants to remain a State that prostrates itself for the likes of Amazon and jobs barely over minimum wages with few or no benefits, the proposed constitutional amendment should make little difference. If Indiana wants to rise from the State with the 40th highest---make that 10th lowest---median income of the 50 States, then this constitutional amendment absurdity should be abandoned. Lawmakers should not waste time on a vote for the measure. They should move on and make deals with lobbyists to screw over Indiana taxpayers in other ways. Maybe Indianapolis could be host to the Australian Rules Football Championships for the next four years. Why should Australia hog it all?

   The improved economic atmosphere that such legal matters as marriage equality bring is but one reason to reject the proposed constitutional amendment. Another has to do with acts of violence perpetrated against LGBT people. The less the law legitimizes discrimination of any sort, the less likely acts of violence will occur. I noted yesterday the beating death, in Queens, of a transgender person. That is a State in which marriage equality has been recognized. Bigotry does not disappear overnight. Our society, 59 years after Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and 48 years after enactment the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act still has a long way to go as regards racial discrimination. There has been great progress, however, since those key actions by the Supreme Court and the Federal government. One may reasonably infer similar progress may be made in the areas of LGBT rights.

   Saturday's Show will focus on the proposed constitutional amendment. Our guests will include Tanya L. Domi, an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Director of Media Relations and Spokesperson for the City University of New York. She is a native Hoosier who, as a commissioned officer, was discharged from the United States Army because she is a lesbian. We stream from 11 am to 1 pm live on Saturday. I hope you will join us.    

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