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Costas, McDermott join mayors against amendment on gay marriage

Valparaiso Mayor JCostas

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas

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Statements from mayors

Mayor Jon Costas – Valparaiso

“I am opposed to amending our state constitution to prohibit gay marriage for a number of reasons. First, Indiana law already defines a marriage as only between a woman and a man. Thus, the amendment is unnecessary. Second, as a conservative, I feel that government should be limited, and not unduly intrude into social issues that are best left to individuals, families, and faith communities. And finally, as a mayor who wants to foster a welcoming, diverse and collaborative community, I believe the amendment would portray Indiana in a negative light and hinder opportunities for economic growth.”

Mayor Thomas McDermott – Hammond

“In Hammond we wanted to make sure that all people feel welcome and so we passed a resolution through the city council that I signed as mayor stating our inclusiveness of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. The path that the legislators who support this amendment are taking only makes certain groups feel unwelcome in our state. It’s backwards thinking, on the wrong side of history and not part of what I know as Hoosier hospitality. I will do anything I can to help defeat this amendment that I consider in contravention of what Indiana should be doing on this important civil rights issue.”

-- from Freedom Indiana,

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Updated: December 3, 2013 5:24PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — 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, Hammond and Valparaiso 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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