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Elkhart County foes, proponents of same-sex marriage will keep up the fight

A state lawmaker opposed to same-sex marriage wants to pursue HJR 3, a local backer of such unions plans to remain vigilant.


Posted on June 26, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.

The debate over same-sex marriage hardly ends with the federal court ruling striking the Indiana law prohibiting such unions.

State Rep. Tim Wesco, who represents part of Elkhart County, hopes lawmakers once again take up the proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, prohibiting same-sex marriage. The sooner the better — 2015 would be ideal.

Out of the bedrooms
Outgoing State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, a Syracuse Republican defeated in the May primary due in part to her vote against HJR-3, said Wednesday’s ruling shouldn’t be a surprise.
Similar laws have been overturned time and again in other states. "The government does not belong in bedrooms. We’re supposed to be protecting everybody’s rights, not taking them away,” she said Wednesday.
She went on, expressing opposition to spending funds to appeal Wednesday’s court decision. “To spend money on this issue I really think is a disservice. We need that money for important issues like healthcare,” she said.
Kubacki, whose district covers part of southern Elkhart County, has previously expressed support for the notion of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. She opposed HJR-3 owing to concerns about meddling with the Constitution.

Pastor Mike Fisher of Grace Bible Church in Elkhart said if the trend in the courts favoring same-sex marriage continues, it becomes the task of churches and families to take up the cause of defending traditional male-female marriage.

“It must be one person at a time, one family at a time,” Fisher said Thursday, June 26. “The church has got to stand up, the Christian family has to stand up, even if the government doesn’t.”

Where exactly the push for and against same-sex marriage in Indiana goes from here remains unclear in the wake of Wednesday’s court ruling. But reps on the two sides of the issue in Elkhart County don’t plan to let up.

Chad Crabtree, an Elkhart man who lobbied against House Joint Resolution-3 when up for consideration by the state legislature last winter, will remain vigilant.

Democratic candidate sounds off
Joe Bock, Democratic hopeful for the 2nd District U.S. House spot, issued a statement Thursday expressing support for same-sex marriage.
“I believe that the government should not deny the rights of any individual to marry. Married people have hundreds of protections, rights and benefits under federal law. We cannot exclude a certain group of people,” said Bock.
Still, he recognized churches have their own definitions of marriage and touted the import of keeping the church and state separate.
U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, the Republican incumbent in the post, issued a statement Wednesday touting support for letting voters decide state matters.

"I have a feeling it will rear its head again," he said, alluding to debate over HJR-3, the measure Wesco, a Republican from Osceola, wants lawmakers to take up again in 2015. If that’s the case, Crabtree said, he’ll return to the phone banks and resume the grassroots effort against the proposal.

HJR-3, co-authored by Wesco and approved by lawmakers in the last legislative session, must go to lawmakers a second time, per the constitutional amendment process. If approved, it would go to voters as a ballot question for final consideration, potentially in November 2016.

Jodi Buoscio, a Democrat from Osceola challenging Wesco for his District 21 Indiana House seat, thinks same-sex marriage is "a constitutional right." Lawmakers, she thinks, are putting too much focus on the issue.

"I think we have more pressing needs in the 21st district,” she said. Pursuing the matter in the statehouse is “a big waste of taxpayer money.”

Aside from HJR-3, Wesco would like Indiana lawmakers to take up legislation defending religious liberties, something on par with the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Specifically, he would favor legislation protecting the rights of those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds. A pastry chef who doesn’t want to make a cake for a gay couple, say, should be able to say no and not face legal repercussions, he said, alluding to a case that actually occurred in Indianapolis.




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