Saturday, February 16, 2008

Indiana Gay Marriage Ban Update

I just thought I'd post an update on the status of a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana. As was predicted earlier in the local media, the measure was not allowed out of the Indiana House Rules Committee, by its chairman, Scott Pelath, a Michigan City Democrat.

To fill in the blanks, this measure was proposed and passed by both houses of the 2005 session of the Indiana Legislature during the height of the frenzy against same sex marriage. At that time both houses were controlled by Republicans. While the Indiana Senate remains in the hands of the GOP, the House is now controlled by Democrats. Amendments to the Indiana Constitution must pass both houses of the legislature in consecutive years, and then be placed on a statewide ballot for a vote. I believe a simple majority is all that is needed to affirm the action. However, now that the measure has failed to pass both houses in its second go round, the process must start again from square one. The earliest a gay marriage amendment could reach Indiana voters now is 2012.

Congratulations should go to Pelath for standing his ground. Publicly, he states the reason for not allowing it out of committee is that the amendment is poorly and vaguely written and could have unintended legal consequences down the road. I don't know what, if any, private motivations he may have.

Supporters of the bill lamented, "It is a tragedy for the people of Indiana..." Oh yeah, a real tragedy. As I noted in a previous post on this issue, Indiana already has a statute preventing same sex marriages. A constitutional amendment, besides being morally and ethically despicable, is a waste of legislator's time and taxpayer's money. Currently, there is not one legally recognized same sex union in the state. While the existence of the statute is troublesome, presumably, it would be relatively easier to overturn than a constitutional amendment.

The effort to further codify the definition of marriage as ONLY the union of one man and one woman was promulgated through ignorance, fear and hatred. Social conservatives - mostly Christian fundamentalists, evangelicals and charismatics - have been hard at work in this country since at least the early days of the "Moral Majority" in the late 1960s. Their self righteous rants against anything and everything they perceive as being even remotely outside the parameters of their construct of biblical law has run amuck in recent years.

I am heartened by this latest development coming rather unexpectedly here in the bible belt. However, I don't believe the issue is dead. The social conservatives are a determined lot. They will not give up the fight at this juncture. They will not be satisfied unless and until they reinvent this country as a Christian theocracy and/or the "Rapture" whisks them all away to paradise, leaving the rest of us heathens to battle with Satan, and wallow in the offal of the damned


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