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Love, Faith, and Marriage Equality: Mixed Views in Indiana

PHOTO: Marriage equality is an issue that, even within the faith community, elicits widely varying views in Indiana. Photo credit:
PHOTO: Marriage equality is an issue that, even within the faith community, elicits widely varying views in Indiana. Photo credit:
February 14, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Arguments of morality and belief are at the forefront of the debate in Indiana over same-sex marriage.

The Rev. Melody Merida, chairwoman of the Interfaith Coalition on Non-discrimination, says each religious group has its own interpretation of the Bible, and in her view, the recent attempts to ban same-sex marriage run counter to an overwhelming message of love in the scripture.

"HJR-3 feels the exact opposite of what love would do,” she says. “It's treating our neighbor in a way that we would not wish to be treated.

“So as a matter of faith, not in spite of our faith, but because of our faith, we have to stand up and say, 'This is wrong.'"

On Thursday, the Indiana Senate failed to reinsert a provision in House Joint Resolution 3 – a second sentence that would have banned civil unions and other types of legal status similar to marriage in the state.

That means the amendment will not be on the ballot this November, and the earliest such a measure could be on the ballot is 2016.

Others cite a biblical view of marriage they claim condemns same-sex unions.

But Rev. Kate Waynick with the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis says that isn't what most people are experiencing in a culture that has started to accept these relationships.

"I see people who have been in loving, faithful, monogamous partnerships for decades,” she stresses. “They have raised healthy, well-adjusted children. And they contribute in very positive ways to the lives of their communities."

Merida says she hopes Indiana residents have seen how the marriage equality debate has become hurtful and divisive for some families.

"Think for your own family and whether or not you'd want strangers in some part of the state who've never met you, to vote on the validity, the value, and the sanctity of your family,” she says. “And that's not who are as Hoosiers.

“It's not a part of our culture to say, 'We have the right to decide who gets what, based on who they are.'"

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN