Indiana State Senate Minority Leader State Vi Simpson (D - Ellettsville), has introduced legislation to form a study committee to investigate "alternatives to civil marriage". The committee would begin work this summer and make recommendations to the General Assembly after it concludes.
Simpson has proposed Senate Resolution No 12 after last year's passage of House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6) that not only banned same-sex marriages and civil unions, but forbids the General Assembly from giving same-sex couples any benefits "substantially similar" to marriage. The wording is so vague, Simpson is trying to clarify exactly what those benefits are and what rights unmarried couples would still have in the Hoosier state.
It notes that civil marriage, a creation of the State, is a civil right that enhances the community's welfare, provides for orderly property distribution, ensures support and care of children and adults, and encourages stable relationships over transient ones. It also notes that many Hoosiers are excluded from civil marriage and its protections.
The Resolution contemplates a complete review of civil marriage structure, in light of the 2010 passage of HJR-6, the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. If HJR-6 were to be passed again in 2013, it would be sent to the voters and if approved, would enshrine such a broad prohibition into Indiana's constitution. In view of this possibility, the resolution calls for a study of the alternatives to civil marriage. This would affect all unmarried couples.
The study of alternatives to civil marriage could highlight the conflict between what; if anything that would be left to the General Assembly should HJR-6 become law.
Indiana Equality is asking for Hoosiers to contact Senate Judiciary Committee members to urge passage of the resolution.