A Republican state representative has introduced a bill to ban in the Indiana constitution not only same-sex marriage but legal status for any same-sex union in the state. Rep. Eric Turner, who is up for re-election this year, has introduced HJR-3, which would not only define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but would actually remove current protections for same-sex couples.
But the bill’s mean-spiritedness may be its undoing.
“A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized,” the bill also states — effectively barring future civil unions or domestic partnerships, even for opposite-sex couples.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have often supported legal protections for same-sex couples but objected to the use of the word “marriage,” often on religious grounds. In any poll over the past five years or more, rarely do a significant number of opponents wholly reject legal protections for same-sex couples.
Voters in the Hoosier State support same-sex marriage by a slim margin: 48-46, according to an October poll last year by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Ball State University (PDF). That poll, however, also found that a large majority oppose adding a ban to same-sex marriage into the state Constitution. 57.5 percent oppose an amendment, while a mere 38.1 percent support it.
Turner will face steep odds in even passing the bill, and even greater ones getting voters to support it.
Turner, 63, the Speaker Pro Tempore, has served in the Indiana House since 1994, and also from 1982-1986. He has tried for years to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana’s constitution. A 2004 law already bans marriage equality, but Turner’s bill would force Indiana citizens to vote in November on adding the ban to the Constitution.
Turner made national headlines in 2011 while advocating for a severe anti-abortion bill by claiming women will lie to get an abortion. Turner claimed that “someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.”
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