At yesterday's blogger forum put together by Bil Browning, each of the three candidates for the Indiana General Assembly expressed their opposition to SJR7, the proposed so-called "marriage amendment" to the Indiana Constitution. (I like the suggestion of many of my colleagues that it be called instread "The Marriage Discrimmination Amendment).
I asked Dr. David Orentlicher (Incumbent, House District 86), Russell Brown (Senate District 31), and John Barnes (House District 89) if they believed themselves familiar with the proposed amendment, particularly its second section, and what their views were. Their familiarity with the text and its interpretive problems and negative impact was evident. Barns observed that the proposed amendment was redundant and unnecessary given current Indiana law limiting marriage to opposite sex couples, Orentlicher added that the legislators, who frequently complained of insufficient time to deal with important matters, ought not to be spending time on this kind of issue. Brown, citing his law school training, said that the rules of interpretation, legislative history, and the like, made it clear that the second section as it stood would be confusing and could produce unwanted results, as similar language has in other states..
I came away from the session satisfied that these three gentlemen had done their homework concerning the proposed amendment's language and related issues, and wishing all present and potential members of the Indiana General Assembly were as perceptive. Something as important as changing a section called "Bill of Rights" calls for nothing less than such careful study and questioning.