Civil Discourse Now

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HJR6/HJR3 and HB 1153 lack valid reasons for enactment; the invitation remains open, Mr. Barlow.

   Several times I have invited individuals, who oppose marriage equality or who support the proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution as set forth in HJR6/HJR3 and HB 1153,  to appear on "Civil Discourse Now" to discuss or debate the issues related to those stands and measures. I had hoped on yesterday's Show we finally would have someone who would appear. Marcus Barlow, on InForeFront this week, had challenged for Indiana Democratic Party chairperson Ann Delaney to a debate on "gay marriage and the proposed gay marriage ban."  I responded to Mr. Barlow's challenge and invited him to "Civil Discourse Now." On Thursday he responded that he really appreciated the request and still was mulling it over. I also invited Ms. Delaney, but received no response from her. I followed up with Mr. Barlow. I received no further communications from him. Yesterday our panelists included, by Skype, Tania Domi, an LGBT activist and native Hoosier who now lives in the Bronx; Megan Robertson, campaign chair for Freedom Indiana; Annette Siegel Gross, co-chair of Indiana PFLAG; and Dina Roberts-Wakulczik, a straight supporter of PFLAG. None of the panelists supports efforts such as those of the Indiana Republican Party in its push for HJR6/HJR3 and HB 1153. That the panel was absent any who support those efforts was not due to lack of effort on our part.

   I want to address the arguments, such as they are, "for" HJR6/HJR3 and HB 1153.

   First, I would not Mr. Barlow's column this week lacked any statements in favor of the measures. Rather, he responded to various criticisms of the measures or of those who favor the measures. When one wishes to advance arguments in favor of adoption of something as serious as an amendment to our Constitution, one should have arguments "for" the adoption, rather than ripostes to straw man arguments.

   Second, the arguments in favor of the measures seem to be these:

   1) The moral values of our culture reject homosexuality as an abomination of sorts and therefore we should not give status of equality to homosexuals who would seek to marry. My response: This is largely, if not wholly, a view based on religion. If there have been atheists or agnostics who have advanced this argument and support such enactments, please let me know who they are and where their statements appear. Otherwise, this is an effort, as I wrote yesterday and others have expressed perhaps more eloquently, to give statutory effect to one view of one religion in a country and State in which we have separation of church and State. If someone wants to quote the old testament as a guide to moral values, we should be prepared to bring back slavery and punish those who eat shellfish or have sex while a woman is having her period.

   2) Gay marriage reduces the number of people born into society. My response: The corollary to this argument would be that, in order for a heterosexual couple to marry, they couple would be required to have, or at least try to have, children. That is silly. Marriage is about more than procreation. Beyond that, there are couples in the LGBT community who have adopted kids or had one partner who has become pregnant---and have made great parents. There are a lot of kids who for whom homes are sought through adoption. LGBT couples can provide loving homes. To allow marriage equality could create more, not fewer, loving households in which children can be raised.

   In opposition to the proposed amendment I would say:

   1) We should not make, as a part of our Constitution, discrimination against a class of persons.

   2) Economically Indiana can benefit because businesses do not want tax breaks so much as they want environments populated by capable people. Cummins, Eli Lilly and other companies oppose HJR6/HJR3 and HB 1153. My alma mater, DePauw University, and other institutions of higher learning in this State also oppose these measures.

   I will reiterate what I wrote yesterday. I believe the change of HJR6 to HJR3 is meant to confuse people. HB 1153 is a con game allay the concerns some people have about the discriminatory nature of the proposed amendment. It is far easier to rescind a house bill than it is to repeal a provision of the Constitution. Once the amendment were to be adopted, I believe the General Assembly would repeal the otherwise-meaningless HB 1153.

   The invitation remains open, Mr. Barlow. You have my contact information.

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