INDIANA (21ALIVE) --- Some gay rights advocates say an area university they take pride in, needs to reconsider its stance of neutrality on a bill seeking to make same-sex marriage illegal under the Indiana Constitution.
This controversy is about to ramp up in the Hoosier state.
January 7th, the state legislature convenes for its 2014 session, and what to do about same-sex marriage figures to be a major point of contention.
A half dozen folks showed up Friday at a Starbucks coffee shop at Village of Coventry, abstaining from food for 12 hours as a way to call for Manchester University to take a stand against a constitutional amendment barring gay couples from marrying.
The Republican-dominated state legislature could decide to send the issue to Hoosier voters in the November elections.
Opponents of same-sex marriage believe public sentiment is still on their side.
"Freedom Indiana" is a campaign that is tapping into support from several large companies and job recruiting agencies to try and kill the amendment.
" Even if you don't believe in it as a justice issue, you have to think about the number of people who will no longer choose to even come to Indiana or to look for work here," said Christen Pettit Miller, a Manchester University alumnus and pastor of a Fort Wayne church that supports rights for gays and lesbians.
Catholic Church officials in Fort Wayne don’t want to comment directly on the constitutional amendment proposed for Indiana, but they hope the Church’s position will help guide decision-makers.
" We believe that marriage itself is something that comes from God, that it's designed by God, and because of that reason it's not something that we as humans have the freedom to manipulate or to redefine," said Father Mark Gurtner, with the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese.
There is shifting legal ground on this issue.
Just this month, the federal courts have struck down a ban on same-sex marriage in Utah, and found that same sex marriages in Ohio should be recognized on death certificates.
Indiana, however, is really all alone this year in tackling the issue.
Expect a lot of advertising dollars to be spent here over the next few months by both sides, leading up to some sort of decision.
You can go to “muequality.blogspot.com”, to find out more information about the Manchester University position on same-sex marriage and about the “Freedom Indiana” campaign.
The National Organization for Marriage and Indiana Family Institute are resources promoting adoption of the constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
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