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Dana Summers | Tribune Content Agency
Ballard

Varied mayors unite on amendment

However you slice them

, the mayors who announced their opposition to the proposed Indiana constitutional amendment to define marriage this week are an impressive group.

They run many of the state’s largest cities. Their domains span the state and include industrial cities and college towns.

There are, among the thirteen mayors, six Republicans and seven Democrats.

But their thoughts on the issue of whether Indiana needs to write a ban on same-sex marriage into its constitution are clear and in harmony:

No.

In their individual statements, some of the mayors chose to portray the issue as a question of human rights. Some said government has no business getting involved either way. And some chose to emphasize the redundancy of an amendment that’s already covered by Indiana law.

But all appeared to see the proposal as a distraction from the real business they, and the legislature, ought to be engaged in: making their communities and their state open and nurturing to all kinds of business and all kinds of people.

Noting that Indiana law already defines marriage as a heterosexual union, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, said, “I don’t see the overriding government interest in adding such an amendment … My hope is that we can continue to work together and focus on those things that make Indy a place where people want to live, work and raise a family.”

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, a Democrat, echoed those sentiments. “Each day in Fort Wayne we’re working hard to attract and retain businesses, jobs and families … We’re asking the Indiana general Assembly to focus its attention on issues that help cities cross our state be more competitive in economic development and position us for future growth and success with a quality of life that is unmatched.”

Mayor Jim Brainard of Carmel drove a philosophical stake through the heart of those who contend that conservatives should favor the amendment.

“I am a Republican and believe in limited government,” he wrote. “Government is not the institution that should decide who is allowed to marry.”

The mayors’ statement joins a chorus of opposition to the amendment that includes business leaders and even some educational institutions, led by Indiana University.

On the other side of the coin, legislative leaders hear the siren call of social conservatives, who believe it should be the mission of the 2014 Indiana General Assembly to tell individuals how to live their private lives.

Drones as deliverymen face hurdles

News that Amazon may soon be using drones to deliver packages shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, this is a business that began by selling books and now sells groceries, pet supplies and new or used lawnmowers.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed his company’s plans to “60 Minutes” in an interview that ran Sunday night. Bezos told Charlie Rose that the air-delivery system will not work for all of its products. But “we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds, which covers 86 percent of the items that we deliver.”

Theoretically, someone in an urban area serviced by an Amazon drone could receive a delivery within a half-hour of placing an order.

Indeed, the possibilities for the peaceful, constructive uses of drones are multiplying faster than ... Amazon product lines.

The FAA last month promulgated new rules to protect privacy and to keep drones apart from old-time, human-operated aircraft. FAA Chief Michael Huerta estimates that 7,500 drones will be competing for U.S. airspace within the next five years. Drones will be able to deliver medical supplies to remote areas, and help monitor traffic, weather and agriculture.

There are, of course, some negative perceptions that drones must overcome. They can be particularly vile instruments of warfare, enabling operators to destroy or kill from afar.

As potential invaders of personal privacy, they rank just behind phone taps and cybersnooping.

But technology is outracing our ability to assess its morality. It is all we can do, these days, just to keep up with new developments. So, for better or worse, get ready for the Time of the Drones.

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