Bad News for Queer Hoosiers

Ugh. In Indiana, a state law banning gay marriage just isn’t enough:
A Senate committee advanced a resolution Tuesday that would begin the process of changing Indiana's constitution to ban gay marriage.

Opponents of the amendment said the proposal would do more than just ban gay marriage, saying it could prohibit future lawmakers from creating legal benefits for homosexuals.

Resolution sponsor Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, said some rights could be granted to homosexuals by future legislatures. However, he said the amendment would prohibit granting a whole group of legal privileges similar to those of marriage — such as those included in the civil unions granted by other states.

Sen. Anita Bowser, D-Michigan City, questioned the need for the amendment since courts have already upheld a state law banning gay marriages. She said there was no need for such a change to the state's constitution.

"We are demeaning it. We are defiling it. We are abusing it," Bowser said.

After more than two hours of debate in the Senate's civil matters committee, lawmakers voted 7-4 to send the resolution to the full Senate for consideration.

If the resolution passes the General Assembly this year, it would have to be approved by the Legislature during either 2007 or 2008 to appear on the November 2008 ballot for a statewide

I just emailed every Democratic State Senator in Indiana:

Dear Democratic Indiana State Senators:

I am writing to you in regard to the resolution that has been introduced that would ban gay marriage. Please withhold your support for this resolution.

Indiana already has in place a measure banning gay marriage; the new resolution would go much further in codifying discrimination into the Indiana State Constitution by prohibiting many of the other legal rights afforded same-sex couples. Not only does this undermine the very principles of equality that are integral to the great American Democracy, but it will also be bad for Indiana's already struggling economy, as our businesses would not be competitive with those who are free to extend partner benefits to potential and current employees.

It is enough of an injustice that we do not even allow civil unions as an option to gay and lesbian Hoosiers, but to act punitively to take away family benefits from employees of major employers such as Indiana University is beyond the pale.

For your consideration, I am not a gay person, nor do I have any gay family members or friends who are employed by an Indiana business that would be affected by this decision. I am simply a voter who believes in the principle of equality for all citizens, as the US Constitution is intended to ensure.

I am extremely concerned about the escalating attacks on the rights of gays and lesbians throughout this country, and I beg of you to please try to halt the tide of prejudice we're seeing in this state. Please vote against this biased and hateful legislation and consider introducing legislation that will repeal the existing ban, replacing it with such that would at minimum guarantee the opportunity for gays and lesbians in Indiana to find the same security and happiness that my husband and I are afforded through civil unions.

I appreciate your giving me your time and the chance to express my views.

I sent a special note of thanks to Senator Bowser for publicly speaking out against the amendment. I will also be emailing Evan Bayh and my Representative, who happens to be one of only a couple Democratic Reps in the entire state. Sigh.

Red State Values: Love Jesus, Ignore His Message, Hate Everyone Who’s Not Like You.

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