The Indiana House Judiciary Committee this morning heard testimony on a bill that would write a ban on same-sex marriage directly into the state constitution. The highly-controversial bill would also prohibit lawmakers in the future from allowing civil unions or domestic partnerships for any couples. If the bill passes through the legislature, voters would get to decide in November if they want a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Both sides were given equal time, and there were many in opposition to the legislation, even from one man who explained how the language was so poorly-written that he could not support it regardless of his views.
And it was evident the anti-gay right funneled a good deal of time and money into what they clearly see as one of the last battlegrounds in the nation in which they might have a chance to win constitutional marriage inequality.
Representatives from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has had a hand in many state anti-gay marriage battles, offered testimony in favor of writing discrimination into the constitution. Kellie Fiedorek, however, is not authorized to practice in Indiana, and her testimony seemed to reflect her unfamiliarity with state laws.
Others opposed included several anti-gay members of the clergy, quoting the Bible and offering dystopian warnings. One pastor, Ron Johnson of Indiana Pastors Alliance, even proclaimed that same-sex marriage leads to “sexual anarchy,” despite all evidence — including in seventeen US states, Washington, D.C., and many other countries — to the contrary.
One rabbi spoke of the “covenant of love and sexuality” between man and woman being “strong and unique,” as if same-vex couples do not share the same bonds.
Rev. Andrew Hunt, who is African-American, denigrated LGBT civil rights by claiming “there is no history between the civil rights movement and the marriage equality movement.” The NAACP has said otherwise.
But perhaps the most riveting, intelligent, and positive testimony came from Jeremy Wenzel of Wabash College, a young conservative who said he is gay and opposes the legislation. Wenzel suggested he may be forced to move out of his home state if Indiana passed the bill.
The committee had announced this morning that they would be voting today at 1:30 PM, directly after public testimony had concluded, but at the last minute, after the final testifier had spoken, the Committee announced it would not vote today.
No reason was given, other than they were going to weigh the testimony delivered.
Perhaps this tweet offers some insight:
I'm guessing the IN House Judiciary Chair intends to reconvene when there isn't so much visible evidence Hoosiers don't support #HJR3.
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 13, 2014
Stay tuned — more to come.
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