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Indiana lawmakers introduce legislation to ban marriage equality

Marriage equality

A quick update to my earlier post about the proposed Indiana marriage equality ban.  The Bilerico Project reports that legislation to put the ban before voters was indeed introduced today in the Indiana legislature:

The proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Indiana has been introduced in the state legislature. The sponsors are Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Eric Turner, Republican Representatives Timothy Wesco, Wes Culver, and Rhonda Rhoads. For the first time in state history, a Democrat did not co-sponsor the bill.

Indiana names bills in the order they are presented to the legislature. While the amendment was previously known as HRJ-6, the new name is HJR-3. It is scheduled for a 10am hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

While Republicans have repeatedly claimed that the amendment is not a priority for them this session, it will be one of the first bills heard during the new session that started this week.

We will of course cover the bill as it moves through testimony and final votes!

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  • 1. Lymis  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    So, among all the other things that are wrong with this, it was such a priority that it is the third bill introduced this year.


  • 2. Eric  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    The priority is to keep it close to the primary, yet as far from the general election as possible. The base needs to remember, everyone else needs to forget.

  • 3. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Can't a lawsuit be brought to have it be removed from the ballot, in light of Windsor?

  • 4. ebohlman  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Nope, no injury unless and until it's enacted

  • 5. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    There is already injury happening via the state's current laws.

  • 6. sfbob  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    That's certainly true and you'd think that any Indiana couple that wanted to bring a suit challenging the current law would have a pretty good case.

  • 7. Bruno71  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I don't think there's a case yet out of the 7th Circuit. Wonder what's taking them so long.

  • 8. ebohlman  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    7th is IL, IN, WI. Nothing can originate from IL (most populous state in the 7th) and so far nobody's brought a case from IN or WI.

    (OK, there were a couple district-level cases from IL that resulted in IL being required to recognize marriages where one partner was terminally ill, ahead of the effective date of the equality bill, but nobody appealed them.)

  • 9. sfbob  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    If a state were to attempt to pass a law prohibiting interracial marriages such a suit would probably work since Loving overturned all such prohibitions without exception and the issue is considered settled once and for all. Unfortunately, I suspect Windsor is not sufficiently specific as to cover this sort of thing and is certainly neither as broad nor as far-reaching as was Loving. So what would need to happen (assuming the ballot measure passes and the state tries to enforce it and absent any higher court ruling that is broader than Windsor) is that, just like in other states, gay and lesbian couples would have to sue the state for the right to marry using Constitutional grounds and the precedents of prior decisions.

  • 10. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    But Indiana is legally required to recognize same sex spouses in the military now, as well as for other benefits guaranteed by federal law. Won't that open up a legal challenge to Indiana's current laws?

  • 11. sfbob  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    No doubt such an argument could and should be used in any lawsuit. The state would of course argue that that is a limited exception mandated by federal law and that the state should otherwise be permitted to restrict marriages and the recognition of marriages, as it pleases. I know that one's a bit tough to swallow but that has been the argument everywhere such laws have been contested (mainly because it's pretty much all the anti-equality folks have left in their arsenal) and I've not doubt they'll continue to make those arguments until the Supreme Court makes a definitive ruling. Knowing today's Republicans they'll probably keep on making the same arguments even after every single marriage equality ban is judged unconstitutional, but the arguments will no longer carry any legal weight or effect. Keep in mind that the last state to abolish its ban on interracial marriages did so only in the year 2000, thirty-three years after Loving vs Virginia was handed down. and the last state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment (the one banning slavery) only did so two years ago. Some folks just aren't comfortable facing reality.

  • 12. karen in kalifornia  |  January 9, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    How would this be any different for the 17 other states that have amendments which not only ban marriage equality but also any other legal recognition for ss couples which would be like marriage? Indiana would not be the only one.

  • 13. ebohlman  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    They're only required to certify that certain couples meet the purely Federally-defined requirements for military spousal benefits, and those requirements are not in any way contingent on home-state recognition of those marriages.

  • 14. Seth From Maryland  |  January 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    news in the Texas case hearing ,the motion to consolidate the cases has been denied in Austin. All cases are running their separate courses. Preliminary injunction hearing for DeLeon v. Perry set for Feb. 12th in San Antonio before Judge Garcia.

  • 15. Dr. Z  |  January 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    That's good news for us. One of the couples filing suit against the state was trying to act as their own lawyer. Texas AG Abbott was probably trying to force the plaintiffs to consolidate to make things more difficult for them.

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