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Illustration by Gregg Bender | The Journal Gazette

Letters to the editor

HJR 6 clouded couple’s decision to relocate

About one year ago, my partner accepted an offer at a medical practice that works out of Parkview and Lutheran hospitals. He is a brilliant, well-credentialed physician and received offers from every practice where he sought employment. Fort Wayne offered the best opportunity, but deciding to move here was not easy for us. That was, in large part, due to HJR 6.

For same-sex couples, a dark cloud looms over Indiana. My partner and I asked ourselves how could we move from Illinois, a state on the cusp of legalizing marriage equality, to a state that wanted to ban marriage in its constitution?

If passed, HJR 6 would bring negligible legal significance but extraordinary consequences for the entire state. People of the same gender already can’t marry in Indiana. But HJR 6 projects a blaring message that in Indiana, same-sex couples are not equal. They should not expect to find recognition or legal protection for their relationships.

Friends in Chicago thought we were out of our minds moving here. They couldn’t see the opportunity Indiana offers. They only heard about a very controversial resolution pending in the legislature. My partner and I are happy to call Fort Wayne home, we want to see this city prosper, and we know that HJR 6 is bad.

It’s bad for freedom. It’s bad for business. It’s bad for Indiana.


State shows willingness to disenfranchise some

The Indiana legislature is set to debate a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only between a man and a women. What the legislature is truly doing is setting up a two-class system in Indiana. One class will enjoy all benefits that the state entitles them. Another class will be entitled to none of those benefits. It seems that in American history this same scenario was played out before. It took the greatest war in our history to correct this attempt to disenfranchise a whole race of citizens.

Clearly, the Constitution guarantees all life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Personal opinions and biases have no business in determining who can love each other and choose to become partners. Those supporting this amendment refer to their religious beliefs as a reason to support this amendment. They must be reminded that the Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state. They must also be reminded that, contrary to popular discourse, the United States is a nation of many faiths, not just Christianity.

This Republican administration has demonstrated its disdain for working people by passing right-to-work laws. Its tea party governor refuses to expand Medicaid that would insure an additional 182,000 Hoosiers and prevent the closure of our hospitals because of his personal ideology. Now, by trying to pass a constitutional amendment to prohibit a person’s right to love, share that love together, and have access to all the benefits that a so-called traditional couple has, he signals that Indiana is not a place to do business.


HJR 6 an arbitrary restriction on minority

Recently, some of my fellow members of the clergy wrote a column in favor of HJR 6. In it they claimed that this controversial constitutional amendment is necessary to preserve the institution of traditional marriage. They proceeded to trot out worn arguments based on a very narrow and biased view of Scripture and a lack of understanding of the place and purpose of marriage as practiced in our society.

As a Christian leader, I, too, hold the commitment expressed in the marriage bond to be sacred. I do not, however, think that this kind of loving commitment requires, nor should it require, limitation only to the relationship between a man and a woman.

The argument of my colleagues is that the union of one man and one woman is the biblical standard. Yet, even a cursory reading of the Bible shows many other relationship models in play. It is poor reasoning to think that one can just take the bits and pieces one agrees with from the Bible and plop them down in the 21st century and state that this is the one and only rule.

In our society, marriage has been a legal arrangement granting rights and privileges to a couple who make what is intended to be a lifelong commitment to one another. It is these legal rights that HJR 6 intends to restrict from a group of people simply because of their sexual orientation.

I see great danger whenever our society seeks to arbitrarily restrict one minority or class of people simply because they are not like us. HJR 6 is just such a law, and people of good will everywhere should let their voices be heard crying out against such a monstrous injustice.

KEVIN R. BOYD Fort Wayne

Marriage-ban opposition is only sensible choice

No matter how you feel about same-sex marriage, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana should not be put to a referendum vote. Why?

1. Same sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana.

2. Indiana’s ability to attract and retain businesses and employees would be hindered.

3. We would have to endure endless political advertisements until Nov. 4 – months of bombardment from both sides, funded by national organizations.

4. We should use our time, money and energy to strengthen Indiana’s education, safety, transportation and economic systems.


Goodwill grateful for community support

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank the communities of northeast Indiana for their unwavering support.

Since opening our doors in 1936, we’ve served thousands of individuals. Our mission was then and is now to help people with disabilities and employment barriers find work experience, learn skills, obtain good jobs, earn paychecks, enjoy independence and contribute to their communities.

Since our start, we’ve extended the area we serve, begun new programs, increased the number of retail stores and helped thousands of people. But these achievements aren’t ours alone. They are those of our donors, who give us their gently used goods that we sell in our stores, to customers whose purchases provide funds to support our programs, to employers who hire our clients upon completion of those programs, to volunteers who lend us their time and talent, and to our incredible staff who help make it all happen.

This year we employed 174 people with disabilities and/or employment barriers. Collectively, this group earned more than $2.4 million. We also served more than 250 individuals with similar challenges.

We join those we’ve served in saying: “Thank you, donors, shoppers, employers, volunteers and employees for believing in Goodwill Industries of Northeast Indiana.”

BILL WARRINER President and CEO Goodwill Industries of Northeast Indiana, Inc.

Competing visions fuel job-creation debate

I’m not an economist but I was moderately successful in business, and I think that the formula for economic growth is a fairly simple one. The fact is, we need to get more people working. The question is, how do we make that happen?

Employers hire more employees only when they need them – not for altruistic reasons. They need them when they have more customers and current staff can’t handle them. They get more customers when people have money to buy their products. But how does that happen?

It is universally accepted that our roads are a mess, bridges are unsafe, schools need repair and new ones built. These needs are the responsibility of the government and government should invest in these projects. By doing so, it will put cash in the pockets of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of workers. These will be people who will spend that money buying things they have wanted and needed for years. This increase in new volume will tax the resources of the providers who then will hire new employees – and the spiral will go up instead of down.

I know that this will bring a howl from those who wail against “big government,” but is it the function of private industry to address the bridge problems, the roads? When the economy is weak and unemployment is high, do we not blame the government and expect the government to fix it? You can’t have it both ways. The Republican mantra that begins and ends with tax has sold much of the public on the idea that tax is evil and lord help the politician who suggests that we pay for services that we need and want.

It’s time that those who are hurting and struggling to get by to speak up, write and vote. And it’s time for those of us who are more fortunate to do the same. Complaining silently gets you nowhere.