19 November 2013
Today was Organization Day at the Indiana State House. Throughout the day I met with both Republican and Democrat legislators including some of the key position holders. Although there was no where near as many citizen activists flooding the halls this year as there was in 2011 when so many showed up to oppose expanding workers civil rights, there were still ample displays of policy concerns.
Two matters seemed to dominate:
1] HJR6, and
2] The medicaid gap for children
HJR6 is the resolution to amend the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Current Indiana statute [IC 31-11-1-1 (1997)] provides that marriage is between a man and a woman. One of the arguments in support of HJR6 is that strengthens marriage. But I have seen divorces and horrible treatment and outcomes for children of different gender parents over the years since 1997 when that statutory scheme was enacted. If the argument is applied to existing marriages I find it spurious at best. I asked some heterosexual spouses the following question: If marriage to someone of your gender was legal would you ditch your current spouse in favour of someone from your gender. There were various responses and some good laughs but no one said yes. What bothers me most about this is that it is detracting from what I feel is legitimate work that needs to be done to foster improvement in opportunities and outcomes for children.
None of this is lost on legislators or their staff. A recurring theme I heard today was that too much attention is being given to an attempt to fight an inevitable shift in society and there are more important areas of law demanding attention. Supporters on HJR6 are going to be faced with having to justify efforts to attempt to legislate so-called morality while important issues such as funding early childhood education and providing health care for children don't receive the full level of attention that they deserve.
The effort to bring Indiana laws into conformity with social norms is intense and is finding support among a wide range of advocates. From the conversations I had today I don't see enough support to get HJR6 passed in the upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Indiana HJR6 Marriage Amendment may be dead already
19 November 2013