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Daily Kos: Indiana's Marriage Discrimination Amendment – Back from the Grave

Don Sherfick

Ask 100 people, be they legislators, media folks, or just ordinary Hoosier citizens if they think HJR3 is simply a renumbered SJR7, the amendment that got through the legislature on the first pass in 2005, but hasn't made it though again since when people woke up and read its horribly ambiguous second sentence. Betcha' 98 of them will nod their head yes.

Sadly, as bad as SJR7 was, HJR3, a supposedly minor rewording to "clarify" things, is even worse. At least with SJR7 sponsors insisted they were only interested in stopping "unelected activist judges". But they assured us that if the General Assembly wanted to, it remained free even to enact full civil unions.

In a sneaky move they don't want to discuss the reason for, their new version strips the legislature of that ability. So much for letting one's elected legislators reflect their changing attitudes.

The more people realize this major reversal of position, the more the sponsors will exposed for some pretty shoddy tactics.

Christopher Anderson

It is correct to say that the general assembly should not be addressing this issue in the special session, as clearly there are more important things they need to be figuring out. However, as we have seen some state judiciaries (California) try to go against the people's wishes and legalize marriage between two people of the same gender, the importance of HJR3 cannot be underrated. It, or a similar bill, should be passed soon in order to comply with the wishes of the majority of Hoosiers, and it should be done before certain judiciary actions are taken to counter its efforts.

Don Sherfick

Christopher, even a cursory study of Indiana constitutional law and precedent indicates that fears concerning what Hoosier courts would do in this area are unfounded. Our courts are acknowledged nationwide as consistently refusing to second-guess the legislature in applying our own "equal protection" clause. Unlike California, Massachussets, etc., they don't judge the lawmakers' motives, and will consider a law constitutional so long as there is even the remotest "rational basis" for distinguishing between two groups of people.

Supporters of HJR-3 continue to make judges the easy scapegoats, trying to draw attention away from the fact that they've stealthfully changed it from what even that say it once was: something that kept our lawmakers totally free. Even their spokespersons said this legislative ability was right and proper, even though they would not support the legislation themselves. When they rewrote the measure into HJR-3 they took away that legislative power.

Oh, they will say that our lawmakers can take SOME little steps toward doling out benefits to gay and lesbian couples, but if that collection looks "substantially" like marriage, all bets are off. And just WHO is to decide when enough is enough? Why, those nasty blacked-robed activist judges, of course!

How ironic....and how totally hypocritical.

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