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Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment Could Come Up For Another Vote

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but legislators are seeking to strengthen the ban by including it in the state's constitution.

Gay Marriage

Photo: M.V. Jantzen - Flickr

Two men marry in Washington, D.C.

A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana could face its final legislative hurdle this session. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but legislators overwhelmingly voted last year to put that ban in the constitution.

It has to pass the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014, but this month‘s election brought the first suggestion public opinion on the issue could be shifting.

Minnesota voted this month to reject a constitutional ban, while Maine and Maryland became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by referendum.

Representative Eric Turner (R-Marion), who authored the amendment, says Hoosiers have more in common with the 30 states which have approved constitutional bans.

“All those states would be classified as fairly liberal states, and much different than the 30 states that currently have a constitutional amendment, so we would probably compare ourselves more to those states,” he says.

But Turner says a House leadership meeting next month will discuss when and whether to resubmit the amendment.

Indiana Equality Action executive director Rick Sutton says he has resigned to the amendment passing the legislature, and predicts it will come early in the session. The amendment passed in 2011 by overwhelming margins. But Sutton is gearing up to stop the amendment in the final step of the process, a referendum in 2014.

“We think the voters are way ahead of the General Assembly on this,” he says. “The General Assembly‘s relatively isolated. When you‘re one of 150 people, and a good two-thirds of you have little or no opposition on a regular basis, you can get pretty insulated.”

He contends Hoosiers‘ views of the issue have changed more than legislators realize.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557036777 Dale Richner

    It is just a matter of time before such amendments are overturned, so all this time is just being wasted. Civil equality is not a popularity contest.

    In 1948, when the CA Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage statewide, 90% of American voters opposed it. In 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage on a nationwide level, 72% still opposed it. It wasn’t until 1994 that these people were in the minority for the first time with 41% opposing and 45% approving.

    (As of 2007, 17% still disapprove of marriage equality for interracial couples.)

    Thank God we have a constitution and a judicial branch of government to set us right when we make mistakes.

    Source:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/28417/most-americans-approve-interracial-marriages.aspx

    1948 figure from Gail Mathabane, “Gays face same battle interracial couples fought,” USA Today, 2004-JAN-25.

  • Jack_M_eoph

    The dysfunction plaguing the marriage issue & several others all stem from the lack of proper separation of church & state.

    The marriage solution is straightforward. Create a legal status called civil union which would grant all the privileges, rights & responsibilities that marriage imbues today. Give every religion, synod, & sect complete control of the qualifications, requirements, costs, etc. for being eligible for the marriage sacrament ceremony, but remove all legal standing from marriage.

    Those already married could apply for civil union status without any formal civil ceremony or testifying. They would be ‘grandfathered’ so to speak.

    After a, say, two year period to ‘grandfather’ in, all citizens married or not would have to separately apply for civil union status and go through the same testifying, notarizing & whatever else everyone else has to go through if they wanted to have those legal rights.

    There would be a lot less marriages, because on the whole most people know there is no such thing as god or any of the other gibberish purported by religions.

  • hyhybt

    What you describe solves absolutely nothing and serves no purpose but to aggravate people on all sides and none. We already *have* a system where civil unions (properly called MARRIAGES) and church marriages have their own rules and either side is free to set its own qualifications. What reason is there to deny the name of *marriage* to the legal entity? If churches find they cannot share terminology with unions they don’t happen to like, and they are too stupid to understand how adjectives work, then they can rename their version.

  • Jack_M_eoph

    Marriage is a word defined religiously by religions since the Pharaohs at least. This is a tug of war where we should let go of the rope.
    Arguing or tugging only gives validity to the effort of those who would use religion to govern. The constitution wisely separate church & state. The risks to civility are in allowing the discussion to even occur when it’s foundation is predicated on religious government.
    As soon as one starts like Solomon the choice should be to cut the “baby” in half, that will expose the “real mothers”.

  • hyhybt

    Marriage is a word that has meant a variety of related things over the years, and for as long as there has *been* any such thing as separation of church and state, both have had their own definitions.
    What you are advocating is the “forcing everyone to change” that the anti-gay side likes to claim, falsely and consistently, that those of us who simply want gay couples to be issued the same marriage licenses straight couples already have are trying to do.

  • Jack_M_eoph

    I’m proposing to make the homophobes apply for civil union license or loose their rights & I am willing to make myself go through the same, for the ’cause’ of separating church & state & giving gays & whoever else is willing to make a civil commitment the same rights that I’ve enjoyed.
    Gays will have to apply for something once they have an option. What should matter is that they get equal rights & hopefully see one stake inserted in the heart of religious intolerant’s belief they have a right to exert their religion on the laws governing any of us.

  • hyhybt

    No, you’re proposing to make *everybody* settle for a new name to an old concept. The vast majority even of heterosexuals, at least those who are or would like someday to be married, are going to be against that. It comes across as burning down the house just to keep gay folks from getting through the door, with the excuse that there’s another house down the street we can all go to. The *only* purpose such a switch serves is to turn everybody off the idea except a tiny handful of people like yourself plus a somewhat larger one of people against the whole marriage concept to begin with.
    Now: what is inherently wrong with continuing to call the legal entity “marriage,” recognizing that outside of the legal context that word doesn’t necessarily mean exactly the same thing… and letting institutions which object and which are too stupid to understand how adjectives work find their own new terms?

  • Jack_M_eoph

    I had hoped to enlighten you, but with due respect, my grasp of the English language seems to have failed to rise to the occasion.
    I’m going to practice by talking to a brick wall behind my wood stove.

  • hyhybt

    Nice. You promise an explanation, don’t deliver, blame me for it, and throw in an insult for good measure.

  • hyhybt

    Sorry; that wasn’t quite fair; you didn’t promise an explanation. Still, the decent thing to do would have been to make substantial responses to my objection to your approach rather than to push the blame on me simply for strongly disagreeing with you and not accepting false statements (intended as such or not) as a valid answer.

  • Jack_M_eoph

    I promised you nothing & yet I’ve attempted to explain for longer than I thought I had patience to.
    I’ll give it one more shot. There are two issues at play. Separation of church from state, a line which clearly needs to be indelible especially if everyone is as dense as you. Just couldn’t resist!

    & giving equal social & legal rights to legally committed couples. I would also include threesomes & other arrangements, but I digress.

    Using the word marriage to describe these rights has clearly not imbued any longevity to the concept & has generally been an abject failure on many levels, yet you, many of my gay friends & the religious fanatics all seem more & more fanatically attached to it. This appears to be more a proclivity to enter a pissing match than make social progress, so feel free to lobby to keep it at the tip of the fight.
    I see no reason to give any allegiance to it & will suggest again that anyone wanting these rights in the future is not so likely to care what it’s called so much as the threesome you seem to be part of.

    Keep hacking away; eventually you’ll have cut the baby in half!

  • hyhybt

    You seem to be using an odd, customized definition of “explain” that does not include giving reasons for why your views are correct and, more importantly, why the points I tried to make are faulty.
    Merely rewording the same thing in an exasperated tone does not, in any rational sense, qualify even as attempting to explain.
    Which is a shame; I was hoping you had some solid point under there someplace. But merely disparaging people who don’t share your view, and especially the whole (and completely unjustified) Solomon invocation, seems to indicate you don’t; otherwise, you’d have provided it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557036777 Dale Richner

    hyhybt , you have it all backward. It is YOU who needs to explain. America has a Constitution guaranteeing every citizen equal protection and status under the law, no matter who doesn’t like or approve of them. You with me so far?

    For whatever reason, the government has decided to offer something called a “Marriage certificate” for $45 at the local courthouse. It automatically bestows on the domestic couple who buys one a fat package of rights, protections, and responsibilities. This is not to be confused with the unrelated “holy matrimony” or religious “marriage” rite offered by most churches, which has no legal significance. Still with me?

    For anyone to be denied equal access to a $45 marriage license, it is incumbent upon the state to show that a legitimate state interest is legally furthered by denying that group. Now that otherwise-qualified same gender couples are challenging the historical denial of a marriage license, the state must show a legitimate purpose. So far it has failed miserably, probably because as far as the state is concerned same-gender couples function the same in society as opposite-gender couples: stable family households, shared financial security, providing for each other’s mutual care including healthcare (so the state doesn’t have to), sometimes raising children, etc.

    You are the one who better come up with a valid legal reason to deny gay couples equal access, not the other way around. And personal opinions based on supernatural beliefs don’t qualify.

  • hyhybt

    Where on earth did that come from? I agree, and always have, with everything you say in there. What I disagree with is forcing a change in the name of the legal instrument from “marriage” to “civil union.”
    What everybody gets from the courthouse is called a marriage license; it should continue to be called that, with the only change being the removal of the legal restriction that the parties to a marriage must be of opposite sexes.

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  • Sam Y.

    I wish I could say that I’m surprised by this but I’m not. You would think that four wins at the ballot box three weeks ago would speak volumes to Republicans on the issue of marriage and that maybe they should give up on the marriage amendment.

    Rep. Turner says that these four states were fairly liberal states and that Indiana is different from them. Apparently he has forgotten that the liberal state of California approved a marriage amendment. Even the liberal state of Maine rejected their marriage law in 2009 but only recently changed their mind and approved the 2009 law. I remember supporters of these marriage amendments and the National Organization for Marriage would crow about these marriage amendments passing in liberal states too. Now after this election, you don’t hear that talking point because it was changed to “Oh, well they are just liberal states.” Talk about being willfully ignorant of the coming change.

    If Rick Sutton is right about the legislative vote next session, I hope his group Equality Indiana can defeat it the same way that Minnesota defeated theirs. It would be fun to say that a conservative state like Indiana rejected an amendment too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557036777 Dale Richner

    Sorry! That should have been directed to Jack_M_eoph. I have edited it so that now it is.

  • hyhybt

    No problem. These things happen :)

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