Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

July 2, 2013

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Lawmakers want vote on gay marriage ban

Many legislators afraid to say otherwise

(Continued)

The Legislature already voted on it once, back in 2011. But the resolution has to get OK’d again to get on the November 2014 ballot.

When HJR 6 was stalled earlier this year, pending the high court’s decisions, I had Republican and Democratic legislators alike who voted for it last time tell me that someone they know and love is gay. I heard stories — told only on the promise they wouldn’t be reported — of beloved siblings, much loved nephews, favorite cousins and dear friends who were not only gay but who were living in loving relationships.

Then why not oppose HJR6? I would ask. And the off-the-record answer, almost always, had to do with politics and their perception that a “no” vote would harm them in their next campaign. On the record, they’d duck the question and say: Hoosiers should have the right to vote on it. Expect to hear that line, again and again, in the months to come.

Someone I know and love is gay: my “baby” brother, who is one of the nine O’Connor siblings raised by my Catholic parents in a long-lived traditional marriage.

That brother and his partner of 28 years have what I and the rest of my siblings believe is the happiest and healthiest of relationships of all of us. It’s certainly one of the longest and most stable in the family.

Earlier this month, they officially tied the knot when marriage equality finally became law in the place where they live. For the life of me, I don’t understand how that commitment to each other does anything to undermine the institution of marriage.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for CNHI newspapers in Indiana, including the Kokomo Tribune. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

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