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Valpo mayor, council oppose constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

Updated: January 27, 2014 12:31PM



VALPARAISO — Mayor Jon Costas and the City Council took a stand last week against the state adding a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples.

The Council members unanimously passed a resolution against House Joint Resolution 6 and spoke against it and against the section of the Indiana Code that already states that “only a female may marry a male. Only a male will marry a female.”

This is not the first time Costas has taken a stand for marriage equality.

He was one of 11 mayors, including Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. of Hammond, who signed a petition against it.

At Monday’s meeting, Costas said the state legislators need to hear from a broad base of people who are against having a state referendum and oppose altering the constitution.

“They’ll get it, that we really need to just move beyond that discussion,” he said.

The resolution cites the Indiana Interfaith Coalition on Non-Discrimination letter to the state legislature and comments by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and leaders of Indiana businesses, including Eli Lilly and Co. and Cummins Engine Co., which have come out against the measure.

Those in the business community who have spoken out against the efforts say an amendment banning same-sex marriage would jeopardize their ability to attract and retain talent.

“It says something about the kind of businesses we want to attract,” Council Member Joey Larr (R-3) said.

Larr also cited the state law that would make it a felony for a same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license.

Although Larr and Council Members Mike Baird (R-4) and Deb Butterfield (R-at large) discussed also coming out against the state code, the council concentrated on the possible amendment Monday.

“Changing the (Indiana) constitution is a dramatic thing,” Costas said.

Website is up and running

Also at the meeting, City Administrator Bill Oeding announced that the website for the city’s 20-year plan from resident input is up.

The website at www.valponext.org explains the process for people planning what the city’s future will be.

People who want to give their input can give it on the website or attend one of the Big Idea workshops, scheduled for three days: Feb. 24, Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.

The website promises more details coming for those meetings.

“We really do want to get every single citizen involved,” Costas said.

Cities of Valparaiso’s size rarely do such large-scale planning, he added.

Oeding also announced that the groundbreaking for the new public works facility being built of Joliet Road will happen in the first few weeks of January.



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