As lawmakers decide whether to again consider a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana, a group of clergy members has started a petition opposing the move.
The Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination, or ICON, represents more than 230 religious officials who say such a law is not in line with their beliefs. What is more, says ICON President Marie Siroky, an ordained minister at the United Church of Christ, the bill would hurt many sectors of the state’s population.
“It not only affects religions, which is of course my field, but also affects economy, affects business, affects social issues, it affects medicine,” Siroky says. “So when you’re looking at making a discriminating amendment law, it’s very very concerning for us.”
Cicero Representative Eric Turner, who authored the first of two bills which must pass to put the measure to a public referendum, declined requests for comment.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says people are conflicted about the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and cites that as one reason he’s called for a truce on social issues. Pelath says the General Assembly has more important issues to address.
“There are far-reaching implications that some legal scholars believe could affect things like visitation rights between partners and hospitals,” Pelath says. “It could affect domestic violence laws because once something gets into the court systems, judges have to decide what it means and folks wouldn’t know what that means.”
In 2011, the House and Senate both approved a measure that would take a ban of same-sex marriage already on the books in Indiana and place it into the state’s constitution – making it harder to repeal in the future.
If lawmakers vote to support the same measure again during this or next year’s legislative sessions, voters would get the final say in a statewide referendum in the November 2014 general election.