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Chance to demonstrate the city’s common sense

The broad spectrum of opposition to HJR6, the proposed state amendment defining marriage, includes those who frame the issue as a matter of fundamental rights, and those who see it as a practical impediment for growth in Indiana.

This week, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has the opportunity to join the battle to place Indiana on the right side of history by opposing the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment. A discussion during the first meeting of the chamber’s successor organization will focus on whether to oppose or support or take no position on the constitutional initiative.

Pat Sullivan, chair of Greater Fort Wayne’s Advocacy Committee, said his panel suggested placing the matter on the agenda because “We do believe it is an economic development issue.” Now, Sullivan said, Greater Fort Wayne’s staff is placing calls to get a feel for how members stand on the matter.

“It’s really sort of unfortunate that it’s even an issue out there,” Sullivan said. “It’s a distraction from other economic development issues.”

In fact, Sullivan said, “just the debate itself could put Indiana under the spotlight in an unfavorable way.”

But it is out there, and the debate is on. Legislative leaders Brian Bosma and David Long recently reiterated their intention to let the Republican caucuses to decide whether to proceed with the amendment.

Sullivan said questions that need to be answered by Greater Fort Wayne members in this Thursday’s meeting are whether the amendment would be an impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers and whether it would affect the state’s ability to attract businesses.

To place those questions on the table, it seems to us, is to answer them. The group of Indiana mayors that spoke out against the amendment last week made both those points. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s voice was one of the clearest.

And although the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has taken a pass on the issue, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce in October issued an eloquent assessment:

“The Indy Chamber is in the business of strengthening our economy. The proposed marriage amendment does nothing to help show the nation that Indiana is a place that welcomes all, not just some, and we must be mindful of how actions such as this will impact our competitiveness on a national and global level … We encourage all Hoosiers to join us in opposition of HJR-6 and send the message that Indiana is a state that serves all, employs all, and welcomes all.”

For decades, Indianapolis has proven to be a great place to maintain and develop business, and when its business leaders speak, the state usually listens.

Fort Wayne’s business community, which has a strong, respected voice as well, should join the coalition of common sense this week.