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November 26, 2013

PUBLIC FORUM: Closing doors in an open society

Closing doors inan open society

Topping the list of legislative priorities for the 2014 Indiana General Assembly is a constitutional ban of gay marriage. Such a law already exists, but it seems imperative we carve it into the stone tablets of our constitution making it harder to repeal.

The law must pass both chambers twice before going to the voters for a final decision. There is a limited window of opportunity, and proponents presently have the partisan advantage to get it passed the second time. It passed initially in 2011.

There is some reluctance due to a clause in this bill that also does not legally recognize civil unions, be they the same or opposite sex relationships. Changing the text in any significant way would require the legislative process to begin anew. In lieu of a possible change in the political landscape come election time it appears prudent to ram it through as is: a Pandora’s Box of legal ramifications.

Universities and corporations across the state have expressed their disapproval. Prominent organizations have taken a no-comment position. The only motivation I can discover is fear: fear of changing attitudes, fear of conservative backlash, fear of the Supreme Court’s ruling such laws federally unconstitutional, fear for the sanctity of marriage. My fear is for the sanctity of liberty.

All counter arguments aside the Constitution of the United States is a living document. How else explain the abolition of slavery, giving women full citizenship, and opening our gates to the diversity of cultures that make our society the envy of the world?

I am not writing this to condone or condemn anyone’s personal judgment, just to remind everyone our democracy’s cornerstone supports the edifice of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and justice for all. If God created man with a free mind knowing the outcome would be sin, who is man to write laws diminishing that freedom? Laws are necessary in a democracy to prevent anarchy and tyranny, but laws can also breed subjugation. Let God be my judge. My sins can be forgiven, but no laws will prevent them. I am happy to live in a land where I enjoy my freedom of thought, and my right to express it. My ideals may differ from my neighbor’s, but it is not my right to silence him.

Jeffery W. Wiseley

Star City

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