Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Lawmakers Have More Pressing Issues Than Gay Marriage ; Commentary

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Lawmakers Have More Pressing Issues Than Gay Marriage ; Commentary

Article excerpt

What Hoosiers demand from government is a frank and honest assessment of problems, some commonsense solutions, and a credible effort to make their lives a little better. They expect us to give everyone a fair shake, promote the general welfare and make the difficult lives of our constituents a little less so. Whether that means that government should get more involved or simply get out of the way, most citizens assess the desired scope of government involvement on a case-by-case basis.

Today, we must face Indiana's real problems. We love our state. But we can do much, much better.

Over the past decade, Hoosiers' household incomes have declined by a greater percentage than 47 other states. The income of the average Hoosier is more than 10 percent lower than his or her fellow Americans.

More than 28 percent of Americans have at least a bachelor's degree. Less than 23 percent of Hoosiers have one.

One in six Hoosier girls has been raped or sexually assaulted. We have one of the nation's very highest infant mortality rates. More than one in five of our school-age girls are living below the poverty line.

Seven in 10 jobs do not pay enough to allow one parent to stay at home with the kids. Women make 73 cents on the dollar for what the average man makes - the sixth-worst wage gap in the country.

I plainly describe these troubles not to diminish our beloved state, but to begin a dialogue that will lead to real solutions for real problems.

Too often, we believe our own rhetoric. We high-five our press statements on the budget surplus. Or we pat ourselves on the back as Indiana tags along behind a national economic recovery. Or we extend symbolic assistance to people while at the same time reducing their resources. Of these activities, we can all live with less.

Likewise, we must reject solutions in search of problems.

The proposed amendment to our constitution banning marriage equality achieves nothing other than dividing our people, diverting our energies, singling out a group of our friends and neighbors, and sending a message to America's best and brightest that Indiana is not the most forward-looking place to be. …

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