Michiana residents working to defeat constitutional same-sex marriage ban

South Bend, Ind. A proposed amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Indiana’s constitution is sparking a heated debate across the state.

Legislators are expected to take the issue up next year.

The measure already passed in 2011, but must pass again in 2014 in order to be placed on the ballot for voters.

A group of about 30 people packed Chicory Café in South Bend Wednesday night to talk about how to defeat the ban.

Among them was Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He’s part of a bipartisan group of mayors working with Freedom Indiana to speak out against House Joint Resolution 6.

“There’s already a law on the books covering this,” Buttigieg said. “And, passing laws is one thing. But, changing our constitution in order to take away freedom or take away rights is not the right way to go.”

Representatives from Freedom Indiana organized Wednesday’s meeting to tell people living in Michiana how they can help squash the ban.

Dozens signed up to volunteer at a phone bank, where they’ll make calls to educate people about the proposed amendment.

Opponents of the idea say the measure would be disastrous for the state.

“In order to recruit the most talented people and keep them, you have to have a place which encourages equality,” said Michael Lane, who opposes the ban. “This legislation would send the message to a group of people that they’re not welcome.”

Some say they don’t see the point in adding a ban to the state’s constitution when same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana.

“It almost seems mean spirited,” said Joel Barrett. “It certainly makes some very negative statements about the state of Indiana.”

But, legislators overwhelmingly supported the measure in 2011.

And, those who agree with them say, if the amendment makes it on the ballot, they’re confident Hoosiers will vote it through.

“If you're going to be intellectually honest, then you have to be the adult in the room that says, ‘It's not a question of whether this is fair, whether this is we have a different view,’” said Pat Mangan, who supports the ban.”It's a question of whether or not it's right.’”

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