Bil Browning

Indiana's marriage amendment is back

Filed By Bil Browning | June 12, 2009 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
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Rep Eric Turner (R - Marion) and Rep Dave Cheatham (D - North Vernon) introduced HJR-3 yesterday on the opening day of the legislative special session. The bill is a proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The Indiana Family Institute is trumpeting the legislation's introduction in an e-mail blast to supporters while also being clear the bill has little chance of passage.

While the stated purpose of the time-limited session is corrective (to adopt the budget they were supposed to adopt during the regular session), all eyes have been turned to the gambling issue as proponents seek to expand gambling in the state of Indiana during this short legislative window.

Yet amid the bailouts, stimulus packages, gambling expansions and other questionable secular actions....this quiet move is about conviction, standing for your beliefs, strong leadership ...and just plain courage: to keep the issue of one man/one woman marriage alive. It also keeps the issue as a policy CONTENDER, keeping it in-play on the playing field (and one which IFI calls a "mission field").

Representative Turner suggested that while the amendment may not have a great chance of passage during this, an obviously-contentious emergency session, the important thing is that HJR 3 is a bonafide bill waiting to be heard. Ditto from all of us at IFI --- we will be heard!

Indiana Stonewall Democrats President Doug Meagher quickly e-mailed me a statement about the re-introduced legislation. Meagher said, "Sadly, Representatives Turner and Cheatham appear to be unaware that the ground has shifted on this and many other issues of concern to the LGBT community. Even more sadly, they are raising a unnecessary distraction when the fiscal needs of the State are far more important... The Indiana Stonewall Democrats take solace in the knowledge that Speaker Bauer and the House leadership are much more enlightened and progressive on the basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Indiana Equality hasn't updated it's member base about the proposed amendment and I've not seen any media releases. I'll update the post when they release a statement or at least e-blast their members.


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Marie Siroky | June 12, 2009 10:30 PM

On the eve of PRIDE, IN lawmakers set to introduce marriage amendment AGAINShare

No one is going to rain on my parade!(except maybe Mother Nature)
With Gloria Gaynor ad Diana in my head, I am not going to let Rep. Turner and Cheathem and their impending filing of the amendment to the IN Constitution worry me. The legislature is supposed to be talking about the BUDGET, and , though it won't get a hearing, they plan to file the marriage amendment Monday for consideration.
Well Turner and Cheathem BRING IT! Bring your silly selves downtown tomorrow and and tell us, to our faces, that we don't matter.. Tell us you are neglecting your duty to balance a budget for all Hoosiers and instead are promoting fear and division again.Tell the churches in the festival that they are wrong to promote a God who has an extravagent welcome for everyone; tell the businesses that help the IN economy they are wrong to do business with couples in committed relationships, tell your heterosexual constituents who see through your hate, and want you to work for Indiana, not your narrow religious views!
I welcome this insidious debate once and for all..bring it tomorrow , the news wil be there...photo op!
But be ready for some finger snapping, neck twisting INTELLIGENT dialog with you, not hate and fear.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | June 13, 2009 1:37 PM

What most people don't know (including media reporters who don't ask or don't know to ask the right questions) is that HJR-3, like its failed predecessor SJR-15, was a tricky and secretive step backward even from the already un-needed and opporessive SJR-7 which preceeded both.

At least with SJR-7, the sponsors SAID it was aimed to stop "unelected activist judges", keeping open legislative avenues for things like domestic partnerships and civil unions. Even Sue Swayze writing for the Indiana Family Institute's blog Veritas Rex, insisted that although she didn't like it and would vote against it, the General Assembly should still have the full right to enact even "marriage in all but name". She said that legislative perogative was "as it should be. In fact, folks like SJR-7 sponsor Brandt Hershman praised SJR-7 for being much less draconian in that regard that amendments in other states.

But then last January came SJR-15, dropping any pretext of giving the General Assembly any real authority to recognize equality for gay and lesbian couples.

I wish somebody would corner Representatives Turner and Cheatham and ask them to explain in detail how SJR-3 differs fro SJR-7 and why the substantive change. Your pal Ryan McCann at Veritas Rex may know, but has done all kinds of fancy dancing avoidina answering that question.

Truth is, our opponents want to lock out future generations of Hoosiers, as well as their elected legislature, from reflecting rapidly changing attitudes into legislation.

Let's keep educating and providing the right questions to make sure that doesn't come close to happening.