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Indiana Senate bigots advance marriage amendment

Gary at Advance Indiana reports on the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee vote of 7-4 (split on party lines) that advanced the resolution to ban marriage equality to the full Senate. Four Dems said no to adding bigotry to the state constitution.

Today, four Democratic senators who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee chose defense of liberty over defense of one’s political career by casting votes against SJR-7, a mean-spirited attempt by the religious right to foment hate and bigotry against Indiana’s gay and lesbian citizens and strip them of rights guaranteed under our constitution. Earning recognition for their profiles in courage are Sen. Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City), Sen. John Broden (D-South Bend), Sen. Sam Smith (D-East Chicago) and Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson).

Earning their white sheet and hood and a thumbs up from former KKK Grand Wizard D.C. Stephenson looking up from his home in hell are: Sen. Jeff Drozda (R-Westfield), Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford), Sen. Teresa Lubbers (R-Indianapolis), Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger), Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville), Sen. David Ford (R-Hartford City) and Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette). These seven legislators, many of whom I’m sad to say are attorneys, voted to write discrimination against an “unpopular minority” for the first time in the state’s history.

Now that it’s moving to the full body, the bill, SJR-7, is expected to pass by a large margin in the Senate. Gary also notes that the homobigots tried to declare that it was only about “protecting marriage,” only to fight an attempt to remove a paragraph from the resolution that would have left the door open for civil unions, benefits, or heath care or inheritance rights for gay and lesbian couples. Look at the comments of Sen. Teresa Lubbers:

I do not believe that sexual preference should be the basis for discrimination against our fellow Hoosiers. I also do not believe that current legislators should bind the actions of any future General Assembly. In other words, it is my opinion that this resolution does not prohibit legislators from passing laws to provide new protections. Subsection B of this resolution speaks to the powers of the judiciary and not the actions of the legislature. Likewise, I do not believe, based on the testimony I heard and my personal study, that SJR-7 prohibits the establishment of domestic partner benefits by employers.


The paragraph in question reads: “This Constitution or any other Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.” Sen. Lubbers would have us to believe the legislature will have the power to recognize civil unions, domestic partner benefits or other incidents of marriage even after SJR-7 is adopted; she seems to think it only acts as a restriction on what Indiana courts can do. The plain language of the amendment does not limit its application to judicial opinions as she suggests; therefore, it must extend to the legislative and executive action as well. It is so frustrating to see lawmakers to conduct the business of amending our state constitution with such reckless disregard for its consequences.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding