By Taylor Powell
There is no better example of discrimination than denying a group of citizens its rights to wed and be happy.
As of now, same-sex marriage is not legal in Indiana, but fellow states have made the positive push forward to legalize gay marriage.
However, a possibility exists that same-sex marriage may never be legal if the House Joint Resolution 6 bill passes at the General Assembly and moves to public vote next fall.
Recently, Indiana University joined Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan campaign opposed to the Indiana constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and woman, according to IU’s website.
A Butler student organization, Demia, started a petition for the university to follow in IU’s footsteps and join a number of universities and Indiana’s largest employers in the fight against HRJ-6.
Yesterday, Faculty Senate unanimously voted to support the opposition of the bill, but Butler needs to continue to push to publicly joining the fight.
Socioeconomic factors, tax-related issues and religious beliefs have often spurred the opposition of same-sex marriage.
Nevertheless, there are a number of economic benefits that could result from the legalization of gay marriage and religious backing to support the cause.
As the wedding industry is currently thriving, more marriages would result in more wedding and economic growth, Butler economics professor William Rieber said. An increase in marriages could also lead to an increase in divorces, causing a rise in the use of family lawyers.
Studies have shown that married people tend to be happier and in better health, Rieber said, which means there could be fewer healthcare problems among married individuals.
A debate exists concerning if partners in same-sex relationships should receive the same benefits as spouses do. The answer is plain and unquestionably yes.
“As far as the issue itself, I think it depends on what you think is fair and reasonable,” Rieber said. “It shouldn’t depend on the economic effects…the issue goes well beyond (economics).”
Tax problems and economic benefits should not enough reason to deny one’s right to marry freely. But if someone who opposes gay marriage thinks it is right to credit economics for his or her personal opinions, there are facts that could counter such arguments.
Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly joined the coalition against HJR-6, and even threatened to move its operations outside of Indiana if the bill passes, according to ProCon.org.
“Eli Lilly and Company is committed to finding solutions to some of the most difficult diseases humans face,” said Rob Smith, senior director of corporate responsibility, according to IU’s website. “To be successful, we must attract and engage a highly talented, increasing diverse workforce. HJR-6 makes these efforts unnecessarily more challenging.”
The company plays a pivotal role in Indiana’s economy and possibly even Butler’s growth, as a university that receives endowments from the company and has an expansive pharmacy program.
“Eli Lilly has been very generous to Butler,” said Rieber. “They do a lot of good work with drugs and employment, and a lot of people want to have jobs with them.”
Lilly’s threat to leave Indiana if HJR-6 passes serves as another reason why Butler should join Freedom Indiana, if the university truly supports equal rights.
Many people oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons and base their views off of teachings in the Bible. However, religious beliefs should not govern states’ governments.
“Whether or not the Bible prohibits same-sex marriage, that’s not good enough reason to make this a law in a country where church and state are separated,”said Charles Allen, Episcopal priest and adjunct professor for philosophy and religion. Allen is also a gay man.
Though the Bible can influence and sculpt people’s lives, it does not exactly “say” anything. Instead, the Bible is a collection of stories by a number of authors who tend to contradict and disagree on various aspects of life.
The same literature that may allude to marriage only existing between men and women also tells its readers it is a sin to mix two different materials of clothing, tattoo one’s body or sow two different types of seed in the same field, according to the book of Leviticus.
“Since nobody ever asked whether marriage could be between members of the same sex,” Allen said, “nobody in the Bible ever addresses that question.”
Sure, the Bible could have assumed marriage was between a man and a woman, but assumptions aren’t teachings, Allen said.
Bottom line, whether an individual credits his or her views on same-sex marriage to the economy and tax benefits or the literature of the Bible, no one subjective belief should prohibit anyone’s right to marry and, of course, love thy neighbor.