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Indiana marriage equality ban legislation could be introduced today

Marriage equality

The Frankenstein’s monster that is the proposed marriage equality ban in Indiana is lurching its way back into the news this week.  Yesterday, Matthew Tully, a political columnist for the Indianapolis Star, tweeted the following:

That means we’ll probably see legislation filed today.  The process leading to a marriage equality ban in Indiana is fairly complex: the ban was approved by the legislature in 2011, and a second vote is needed with the current legislature to send the issue to voters in November.

Republicans in the state have been shying away from discussing the amendment too publicly, which doesn’t necessarily mean they oppose it, but rather that they might not see it as something they should lead with in an election year.  As The Journal Gazette reported yesterday, House Republicans have released their legislative agenda, one that closely follows that of Republican Gov. Mike Pence but has some notable differences:

“We’ve identified many of the same concerns,” said Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma. “The details may differ.”

One thing missing in the caucus’ priority list is the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

“It’s no doubt one of the hundreds of issues that we will have to deal with this session but it’s not part of our agenda,” said Bosma, who noted that are a lot of different opinions on the issue.

As the New York Times noted in a December piece on the ballot push, there are questions about the amendment’s very language:

Complicating matters is the language of the proposed amendment itself, which opponents say goes beyond banning marriage to threatening all legal arrangements allowing rights to same-sex couples. In addition to defining marriage as between a man and a woman, Indiana’s amendment says, “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

Some lawmakers have suggested that the amendment might now be changed to drop that sentence. But there is debate over how that would affect the process. Some say a language change would essentially require starting the legislative process over, delaying a statewide vote by years.

Not surprisingly, advocates on both sides of the issue are already gearing up for a ballot campaign in November, even though such a campaign is not yet guaranteed to happen.  According to the Times, a WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey showed in November that opposition to the ban had grown four percent in the past year to 58 percent, with just 38 percent of Hoosiers supporting the proposed ban.  Those numbers are in spite of a much tighter 48-46 percent split of support for marriage equality.

In the meantime, as Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project points out, proponents of the marriage amendment have purchased airtime for a series of ads intended to gin up support for the legislative push.  At the end of this post–if you dare–you can watch two 30-second ads and a five-minute informercial from Advance America, which describes itself as Indiana’s “largest pro-family, pro-church, pro-private and home school, and pro-tax reform organization.  The ads are, well…it’s safe to say they were produced on a budget.

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24 Comments

  • 1. Mike in Maryland  |  January 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    "Indianans" ??

    Residents of the state of Indiana are known as 'Hoosiers'. It is unknown how the name of Hoosier came to be the nickname for those who reside in the state (there are multiple theories), but it is.

    I was born, raised and educated in the state of Indiana, leaving it when I was 22. I still have dozens of relatives who live in the state. To this day, anyone who calls a resident of Indiana an "Indianan" (or any other word except a "Hoosier") is immediately identified as an outsider who knows nothing about the state and/or cares nothing of the history of the state.

    The Indiana Historical Society explains some of the theories of how the name came about: http://www.indianahistory.org/teachers-students/h

    This may seem to be a minor point to most, but it is a very important point for almost all people who have been, or are, associated with the state of Indiana.

  • 2. Pat  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

    "Mike in Maryland" = "Mike in Baltimore"?
    Same kind of annoying off-topic rants…

  • 3. Mike in Maryland  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Actually no, it is NOT off-topic. In the article, the term used for residents of the state of Indiana are incorrectly called Indianans, not the term that is used by the residents of Indiana (Hoosiers, now for almost 200 years).

    The residents of Indiana are known as Hoosiers, NOT Indianans.

    It may seem minor to you, but it is not a minor issue to people who live in or are from Indiana.

  • 4. Jacob Combs  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Change made! Thanks for pointing that out.

  • 5. Mackenzie  |  January 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Maybe a slightly less abrasive notification of your feelings? I am from Missouri and while I recognize Hoosier, it is not like the rest of the country is just supposed to know this, any more than we are likely to know the Indiana state bird or song. It is great to be proud of where you are from, but it is a little over the top to expect people on the other side of the country to just know these things.

  • 6. davep  |  January 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Big fat lie at 4:20.

  • 7. Michelle Evans  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Isn't this the only way they work? If they told the truth they would never stand a chance of succeeding at taking away rights from LGBT people.

  • 8. Eric Koszyk  |  January 9, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Those ads are one of the most poorly made I've ever seen.They look like they were made for public access cable.

  • 9. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Be careful of what you wish for, NOM! Remember how well putting the amendment up for a vote in Minnesota went?

  • 10. Bruno71  |  January 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Unlike Minnesota, Indiana won't have a Democratic legislature and governor, so it's probably not as much of a worry for them in that sense. I'm sure they're really wanting to get this vote in this year, though. Every year their support erodes.

  • 11. Stefan  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    But it still would not be good for many Republicans in close races. Also, Indiana previously did have a Democratic House (Senate?) and governor.

  • 12. Bruno71  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    They haven't had all 3 (House, Senate, Gov) in the last 20+ years (ever?): http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/images/9/9d/Partisan_

  • 13. StraightDave  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    What have they got to lose? If they lose the vote, they have to start all over and take 4 years.
    If that don't vote at all, they still have to start over.

    All they can lose is their respect and credibility. But that's halfway to the moon by now, anyway

    I hope they do vote. If it passes, it matters not one iota. Why?
    Because it only prevents their legislature from repealing their existing statute which does the same thing. SCOTUS will blow up the whole works long before any such thing ever gets passed there.

  • 14. Bruno71  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I hope they don't vote, mainly because of the psychological toll these votes take on gay and lesbian couples. But it's true that the chances of this having any real effect on marriage in the state before SCOTUS steps in are close to nil.

  • 15. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I think a gay people could file a federal lawsuit to have it removed from the ballot and/or declare Indiana's current laws unconstitutional.

  • 16. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    a gay couple*

  • 17. bayareajohn  |  January 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    You know, you can edit your posts directly on this site until someone replies.

  • 18. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    In Texas, Representative Randy Weber (TX-14) introduced important legislation which clarifies that the Federal Government’s implementation of current law in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. The ‘State Marriage Defense Act’ will simply require federal agencies to look to a person’s legal residence when determining marital status and application of federal law.

    Pretty sure the Supremacy Clause takes take of this type of legislation. Texas will eventually be forced by the feds to recognize (and eventually legalize) same sex marriage.

  • 19. Anthony  |  January 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I made a mistake. Randy Weber is a federal official, not a state one. I was thinking some idiot Texas state politician was trying to pass this legislation.

  • 20. sfbob  |  January 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    In any case, his bill has no chance of being passed and less than no chance of being signed into law. And even if it were somehow to be signed into law it would fail based on the precedent of Windsor (among other cases) as it singles out a very specific category of marriages for disparate treatment.

  • 21. Steve  |  January 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    The Republican Party is really nothing but the modern Klan

  • 22. StraightDave  |  January 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Wait a minute. I don't think you realize how bizarrely insane this actually is.
    Windsor says that if a state chooses to marry a couple, the feds must recognize and honor that. Pretty GD simple.

    Now TX comes along and presumes they can (by operation of their state laws), effectively ORDER the federal gov't to violate the Windsor ruling regarding a couple married in NY?!?!?!?

    Who the f do they think they are? Bigotry definitely must cause brain rot.

  • 23. Why the government should&hellip  |  January 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm

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