Indiana, make gay marriage legal

In general, I am not down on Indiana. I’m a writer, so I could live anywhere, but I live here because I like it. Some people say that Indiana is “conservative,” perhaps even reactionary, but I don’t really buy it. Our state has certain characteristics that sometimes are misunderstood.

I was especially proud of Indiana when Barack Obama carried the state in November, and I was also proud to be a Hoosier when a proposed ban on gay marriage failed in 2007.

Now here is one of those characteristics: Hoosiers are practical. We have a very good, very practical governor, Mitch Daniels. We have a strong manufacturing base. We have excellent corporations based here. If something looks as though it might get in the way of doing business, it’s likely to fail here. Hence, according to the Purple Pew,

“House Democrats took a stand today against ill-crafted legislation that would have done more harm than good,” Indiana Democratic Dan Parker said. “This wasn’t a vote against traditional marriage; it was a vote for protecting vulnerable Hoosiers and promoting job growth.” (


Several prominent Indiana businesses opposed the amendment for fear it would limit Indiana’s job growth as it would send a message to the nation that Indiana is a state that subscribes to discriminatory practices. The five businesses that opposed the amendment, according to Indiana Equality, are Emmis Communications, Cummins Inc., Dow AgroSciences, WellPoint, Inc., and Eli Lilly.

Emphasis added.

Give big business credit where it’s due: they knew that disincenting gay people from being in Indiana could only do our state economy and themselves grievous harm. This, of course, was not the most noble reason for supporting the ban, but it’s a respectable reason nonetheless. Funny how a “conservative” state like Indiana gave this idiotic bill the air, whereas a “liberal” state like California actually went ahead and banned gay marriage.

The governor makes frequent trips to Asia and elsewhere to attract business and investment, and he does quite a good job. Governor Daniels, in practical Hoosier fashion, should now affirm in our state the natural right of gay people to marry. Showing that Indiana is ahead of the pack in this fashion will not only attract the best and brightest gay persons to participate in our economy and polity; it will be of great benefit to Indiana’s image–the state’s brand image, if you will. And that, too, can only be good for business.

Most importantly, however, it’s the right thing to do. Like Dick Cheney, we all have gay friends and relatives whom we know in our hearts deserve fair and equitable treatment, not to mention equal protection under the law as the 14th amendment requires. It’s time for “conservative” Indiana to take a stand.

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