Bil Browning

Indiana's marriage amendment to make a comeback?

Filed By Bil Browning | December 03, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, Indiana, marriage amendment, marriage equality, Pat Bauer, same-sex marriage

Could Indiana's constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions make a comeback after all? While I wrote yesterday that the marriage amendment's chances were slim according to the Indianapolis Star, WIBC radio has a different story to report. The radio station says that the amendment will be back, but in a modified version to try and stymie activist's arguments against the ban.

Opponents in 2007 argued the proposal would have unintended consequences, such as making it impossible to file domestic violence charges involving unmarried heterosexual couples. Supporters disagreed, but with the amendment starting from scratch, Marion Representative Eric Turner says he's tweaked the wording to answer those objections.

Turner says the new version is modeled on amendments in other states which have stood up to similar scrutiny.

Turner notes about half of House Democrats voted for the amendment in 2005, and says he expects some Democrats to file their own version of an amendment this year. He says he hopes they'll be able to persuade [House Speaker Pat] Bauer to allow a hearing.

Will the amendment return? I'd imagine the rightwingers in the Statehouse will attempt to push an amendment to try and distract from the ruin our state economy is in. With all of the problems our state has - unemployment, brain drain, a poor economy and a national recession - I can't imagine Speaker Bauer wasting any time with yet another hearing on gay marriages that haven't happened. As the Speaker was quoted in the Star article:

"I've been asking people to show me that the current law has been broken, and they haven't showed me yet. I want to see the couples that were illegally married."

Speaker Bauer was instrumental to the defeat of the amendment in last year's session of the General Assembly. Barring some last minute trick by Republicans, I feel comfortable about any introduced legislation's fate.

Still, it's worth remembering that the Indiana Democratic Party paid for an anti-gay campaign mailer in the last election. The DNC, National Stonewall Democrats, and the Indiana Stonewall Democrats all condemned the mailing, but the state party refused to comment to reporters or acknowledge any complaints by activists.

Speaker Bauer was not involved in the anti-gay campaign ad.


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Turner says the new version is modeled on amendments in other states which have stood up to similar scrutiny.

Isn't that such a weird sentence? I mean, it's like they had to experiment for years to come up with two or three sentences that do what they want. It's ridiculous - isn't writing a couple of accurate sentences something that should be able to be accomplished in, i dunno, a few hours with the help of lawyers, not over a decade with several dozen states experimenting?

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | December 3, 2008 5:20 PM

So true, Alex. But at the risk of severe self-deprecation, the term "lawyers" and "a few hours" is more often than not an oxymoron.

But don't go there with the "oxy" stuff. Even my own humor has its limits. (:

When I saw the Bauer centric, no marriage amendment newspaper articles, I knew something more was coming. When I saw Turner's article a day or two ago, I immediately sought out his state website to see if there was anything on it about the matter, there was not. I think this may only be a way of creating friction among the representatives and giving the Republicans a way to demand what they want in the lesgislature, outside of the marriage amendment. A wedgie, so to speak, not at the polls but at the state house.

Such a shame that we should have to debate this issue yet again when our state is literally bankrupt. Governor Daniels with his hand out along with the rest of the state Governors asking for bailout money, and yet our legislature is distracted with such ninsense.

Regardless, please count me in, regarding all efforts to help thwart this vicious attack by those who seek to see our state a theocracy.

I was afraid that the Indy Star article and the "No Marriage Amendment for Indiana" post was pre-mature. Even if victory is not in the cards, the RR proponents feel that "this is the Good Fight that God wants us to fight." Even if victory is not in the cards, this is an emotional issue that can be used as a political bargaining chip, possibly quite a big one (as Lynn David hints at, above).