An Indiana House committee passed a marriage discrimination amendment yesterday, sending the bill to the entire House for passage. Similar legislation has died in committee in previous years, but since the Republicans took control of both legislative branches in the past election, it's expected to easily pass this time.
Indiana law requires any constitutional amendment to pass two consecutively elected legislatures, so the soonest it could be on the ballot would be 2014. The bill would also ban domestic partner benefits (including private companies) and civil unions; it would also invalidate any marriages legally performed in other states.
The issue also illustrates my constant criticism of how conservative Hoosier Democrats have become quite nicely. The political shift has been completed now. Democrats are the new Republicans, Republican legislators have joined the Tea Party, and the Libertarians are the new Democrats.
Don't believe me? Read on to see what Indiana's political pundits have to say about the amendment...
From conservative FOX radio host Abdul Hakim-Shabazz:
Same-sex marriage is already against the law in Indiana and in the 6+ years I've been here, I have yet to see a successful legal challenge to overturn that. And even if gay marriage was made legal, are gay couples who want to tie the knot really that much of a threat to the fabric of the Hoosier landscape? No offense, but I will gladly take my gay neighbors across the street who keep their home in nice shape and look out for us as opposed to the single-mom breeder down the street who pops out unruly kids like a pez dispenser.
In the year and five months that I've been married (notice how I got that timelime correct) and three years and two months my wife and I have been together as a couple (not bad for a married man), of all the things we ever fought over, gay marriage has never been one of them...
So let's be reasonable here. I know the marriage amendment will likely pass, however I'm not sure if everyone has thought out all the consequences of this, such as what this does for local governments that want to offer domestic partner benefits? I know Indianapolis City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield is looking at offering such a proposal. And what does this do for private companies that want to offer such benefits as well?
From popular Libertarian blogger Doug Masson:
So, if you're just shacking up together and want to provide for the orderly transition of property and care of the children and whatnot, maybe Indiana is not the state for you.
I've said it before. I've come to believe this kind of legislation is on the wrong side of history, is actively bad, and will come to be regarded as an anachronism. And, this is probably why there is a desperate push to enshrine it into the Constitution. Because, sooner or later, the people of Indiana will probably want to treat gays like ordinary people and this proposed amendment to the Constitution is designed to make that harder. After all, we already have a law that does this, and the Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld it...
But from Indy's top Democrat blogger (and former head of the Marion County Democratic party):
Not a word.
Indiana's leading progressive blog, BlueIndiana?
They've gone under. Closed up shop. Gone.
But for the best coverage so far of the issue? Go visit the gay Republican birther's blog.
Only in Indiana.