The Hearing at the Indiana State Capitol on Wednesday, March 21

indiana house hearing

 

NOTE: Tuesday, April 3 - The Indiana House of Representative’s Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee has voted five to five thereby defeating Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR-7). As a result, SJR-7 dies in committee and will not be voted on by the full House of Representatives or the Indiana General Assembly.

We applaud the members of the Committee who voted against SJR-7 for their courageous action, and for standing up for the countless Hoosiers and their families who would have faced needless discrimination were this amendment to pass.

We also want to thank the many businesses, organizations, and individuals who stood with us in opposing SJR-7. They were instrumental in making the case that an amendment defining marriage had no business jeopardizing economic development, threatening the security of domestic violence victims, and stripping our citizens of important rights.

Today’s vote by the committee is a victory against bigotry and discrimination.

Today’s vote is a victory for all of us.


Al, Janice and Roger were in Indianapolis on Wednesday, March 21 to listen to the hearing before the Indiana House of Representative’s Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee on SJR-7, the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban civil unions and marriage for gay and lesbian couples as well as threaten any legal protections for unmarried couples. After three hours of listening to speakers both for and against the amendment, it was decided to not take a vote and continue to study the issues. While the committee did not take a vote on SJR-7 at the hearing, they will take a vote soon, and that’s why you must help. Contact your legislator to let them know you are against SJR-7.

ARTICLE 1 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF INDIANA IS AMENDED BY ADDING A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

Section 38. (a) Marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. (b) 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.

This amendment to Indiana's constitution would permanently enshrine discrimination into our constitution. It must pass this session of the Indiana General Assembly and then a statewide ballot referendum before becoming law.

Speakers for the amendment, many from groups with "family" in their names, seemed to have a picture of families that was not a true reflection of how people live in Indiana, since each "family" is different and unique. They talked about "activist" judges and how they could make us do things we do not want to do. One of the main concerns was to limit what judges could do. It was sort of tearing down one of the three legs of the stool of government - executive, legislative and judicial. Their goal was to destroy the separation of powers and protect their bigotry.

Another familiar term often used was "traditional" marriage. That too, is a fantasy that does not necessarily go back that far in history - depending on what culture you care to study. Maybe traditional marriage should be one of one man and many women. It was obvious that none of them had done very well in their sociology classes or studied the history of marriage.

They talked about the well funded groups that support acceptance and are opposed the amendment, but never mentioned the very well funded efforts of their own groups. They brought a lot of their own religious beliefs without showing any interest in the religious beliefs of others who have a different understanding.

Then came the men and women who spoke against the amendment.

business agreesAn Indiana business man and politician argued that this amendment would damage Indiana's reputation with business. There were other representatives of Indiana businesses who spoke to the same issues that it would hurt business getting and keeping quality employees. These included businesses like Cummins Inc, and WellPoint, to elected officials, to constitutional scholars and domestic violence advocates. Speakers from universities, but not official representatives, stated how this type of discrimination would affect the perceptions of working in Indiana and lower the appeal for those who might want to work in Indiana.

Consider this comment from Columbus-based Cummins Inc.: "In today's competitive global marketplace, it's absolutely imperative we attract and retain the best employees possible," said Mark Land, spokesman for Cummins Inc. "SJR-7 makes that challenge more difficult by sending the message that Indiana is not a diverse and welcoming place. We're pleased to join Indiana Equality and its coalition partners in speaking out against SJR-7, because it's the right thing to do for Hoosiers and it's the right thing to do for Hoosier businesses."

PFLAG momsOne of the most impressive presentations was by three PFLAG moms, Marcia Neff, Sarah Patterson and Sue Hazer from Indianapolis. While we were ready to speak, the moms, speaking with conviction and personal experience, were more than competent in their presentations. Each had a child who had left Indiana because of sexual orientation discrimination. They brought the issue of family values in real and personal terms - not some fantasy concept that is devoid of diverse options.

Without parents, employers, friends and other family members sharing their experiences, those who have only negative perceptions and do not care about understanding will overly influence our legislators.

We are on the precipice of making a dramatic change to how we live and work in Indiana. The architects of SJR-7 realize that all unmarried couples – regardless of gender – would be stripped of rights that protect their well-being and safety. That’s why we must fight SJR-7 to the very end.

We must face the facts that while most people have some perceived understanding of gay and lesbian issues, most have very little real personal experience that would help in compassionate awareness. Without the education and understanding of voters, an important segment of our population will face increased segregation and loss of rights the rest of us take for granted.

 

Click here to watch a video of this event online
Look for - House Committee on Joint Rules Hearing on SJR 7-Definition of Marriage, March 21, 2007
time: approx 3 1/2 hours

 

* * * Send an e-mail to members of the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee. Let him/her know this proposal discriminates against all couples in committed relationships who are not married, and is just an attempt to distract Hoosiers from the greater issues facing Indiana. Tomorrow may be too late.

It is important to write your own letter and make your own phone call.

 

SJR-7 is good for discrimination, but bad for Indiana, bad for families, bad for business and bad for our loved ones.

 

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