To The editor:

I was born and raised a Hoosier. Regardless of where I've found myself in the world throughout the 24 years of my life, my Hoosier heritage has always played an integral part in defining who I am and what I believe.

The proposed state constitutional amendment regarding the definition of marriage (HJR-3), though, runs contrary to everything my home means to me. We're at crossroads, not a dead end, and we should be open to everyone - regardless of their definition of marriage.

While I know those who support HJR-3 wish to do good by their own convictions and beliefs, what right does one group have to limit the free will of others to choose their own destiny? I will stand up in defense of conservative values and traditions, but when this protection comes at the expense of denying my neighbors the opportunity to pursue their own happiness - that I simply cannot justify.

Why must the prejudices of the past burden the promise of the future? I'm brought to my knees by the notion that we, as Hoosiers, should let this injustice advance so far; that it should find countenance in our state. No discourse of morals, policy, or history can sway those most fervently in support of HJR-3, yet it is my hope that we can find a way to see past the controversy surrounding this amendment and spare generations of Hoosiers now, and those yet to be, the burning shame and embarrassment of having denied other human beings the right to pursue happiness as they see fit.

This isn't a partisan issue. This is an issue of doing good by your neighbors. As a kid I was taught to love my neighbor, even if they believed in something I didn't. Failure to pass this amendment harms no one. Marriage in anything other than the traditional sense will remain illegal in Indiana, but to enshrine this definition in our constitution would be an irreconcilable wrong to the future whose home is now so briefly entrusted to our care.

Patrick Thevenow