The options seemed clear: (A) Change the fair housing ordinance to include language protecting same-sex couples and qualify for nearly half a million federal dollars. Or (B) dismiss the amendment, and be disqualified from receiving federal dollars.
Now the playing field is more muddled. That's because what seemed "cut and dry" went null.
"It appears there was an incorrect statement inserted into the sample fair housing ordinance and or amendment that was fowarded on to the communities," says Debra Bennett-Spearsman, VP of Community Development at the Economic Development Coalition of Southwestern Indiana. "Therefore the county will not be required to amend the current housing ordinance tonight."
So, commissioners threw out the proposed amendment.
"I think we did the right thing in checking on it," says Commissioner Steve Melcher. "I think that's what we're here for as commissioners is to make sure we're following all the rules and not change ordinances just to be changing them."
It was a step back for some human rights advocates. But for those in favor of traditional marriage, it was music to their ears.
"I don't believe this is the right time or a good thing to try to pass just because of a few dollars," says Jim Bradley one of a handful of Vanderburgh County residents attending to protest the amendment. "It would've been bad for us all, bad for us all."
The county will soon receive the nearly half million dollar grant. The money will pay for the construction of a sewer system in the Bohannon Estates subdivision.
"When they get all done with this project it should be a great thing for that area out there," says Melcher. Some residents in the Northern Vanderburgh County community tell Eyewitness News they've been plagued with raw sewage backup around their homes for years. They hope the incoming sewer system will eliminate the messy problem, and take the recurring stench out of their lives.
The Commission will award construction bids for the Bohannon Estates sewer project at their February 5th meeting.