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13 Indiana city mayors speak out against effort to ban gay marriage

13 mayors, both Republicans and Democrats, from cities across Indiana have gone public with their opposition to the HJR-6 effort to ban same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott
Photo by OMGM

13 mayors, including a large group of Republicans, have gone public with their opposition to efforts to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana.

The mayors include 6 Republicans and 7 Democrats and represent the cities of Lafayette, Evansville, Angola, Kokomo, West Lafayette, Anderson, Bloomington, Hammond, Valparaiso, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Carmel and Indianapolis.

11 of the mayors have joined forces with Freedom Indiana to form a group called Mayors for Freedom, while another two made their support known to the media on Tuesday.

The mayors oppose the constitutional ban for a range of reasons.

Republican mayor of Indianapolis Greg Ballard said he opposed HJR-6 as it was unnecessary as same-sex marriage was already not legal in Indiana.

‘Indiana law already defines marriage and I don’t see the overriding government interest in adding such an amendment to our state’s constitution,’ Ballard said in a statement.

‘My hope is that we can continue to work together and focus on those things that make Indy a place where people want to live, work and raise a family.’

However South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg said he was opposed to HJR-6 because it made the state look unwelcoming of difference.

‘Indiana’s constitution exists in order to protect rights and freedoms, not take them away,’ Buttigieg said.

‘Our state must be welcoming and respectful of all individuals, or we will be left behind. Changing the constitution in order to deny certain protections to some [Indiana] families would send the exact wrong message as we work to grow and develop a competitive economy in cities like South Bend.’

Hammond Democrat Thomas McDermott said he opposed HJR-6 as a supporter of marriage equality.

‘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,’ McDermott said.

‘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 [Arizona] 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.’

A number of the mayors said the ban would impede in attracting businesses to move to Arizona, while many of the Republicans said they opposed HJR-6 because they believed in limited government.

The mayors’ going public follows on the heels of over 300 Arizona ministers of religion opposing efforts to ban same-sex marriage in the state on the grounds of religious liberty.

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This is an excellent development and, hopefully, will help keep this a place where all our citizens will still feel happy and welcome to read, any time they coming back, that they are "Back Home in Indiana". (But please correct the typo in the initial version of the article referring to "Arizona", instead of Indiana, in the last three paragraphs.)