Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2004 Wants Its Wedge Issue Back

The Indiana General Assembly has decided to dig back into the history of wedge issues to dust off one for everyone. That is, of course, marriage and the definition of marriage. Here's some great coverage of the conference hearings by my colleague Matt Stone over at Indy Student.

Over time, I've seen my own views on this issue grow and change. Today, as I've said before on this blog, I believe that the government should be out of the marriage business altogether. The legal benefits of marriage should be extended to everyone that wants to join in a union with one other adult, but marriage is something that should be left to the church to decide. If you're a man, and you want to marry a man, for example, it's up to your church to call it a marriage...not the state. I believe it to be a religious institution. This would seem to me to be the ultimate compromise. However, until some brave legislator proposes this, anyone that wishes to join in a union with another adult should be able to marry under the law. That includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. They all should be able to apply for marriage licenses and be joined in a union by an official that is qualified to perform such a union.

Unfortunately, our Indiana General Assembly, led by an anti-marriage equality agenda, is pushing through a bill that would define marriage in the Indiana Constitution as between one man and one woman. House Joint Resolution 0006 goes further though. Not only does it want to write this ridiculously stupid definition of marriage into the Constitution of Indiana, but it wants to make anything like civil unions illegal in Indiana. It's pure bigotry and pure hypocrisy.

As many smarter than me have pointed out, the most dangerous thing to so-called traditional marriage is divorce. Why not outlaw that first? The idea that same-sex marriage is some awful and evil thing that will destroy all that is sacred and holy about marriage is silly. In legal terms, marriage is a contract, but the religion thing messes it all up.

In our current reality, you have many religious hypocrites (some married and divorced multiple times) voting for a bill to lock out a segment of the population just because of a belief that marriage is between only one man and one woman.

Clearly, they don't believe in the Declaration of Independence. They don't believe that all men (and women) were created equal and endowed by their Creator with those unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Happiness apparently only goes so far. It apparently doesn't extend to who you love or how you love.

Governor Mitch Daniels is the only person that can try to stop this bill. With the religious zealots in the House and Senate, this will pass. It will also, unfortunately, be a bipartisan bill, I believe. But, it was Governor Daniels that has, ironically, stood up for partnership benefits at the state level. Governor Daniels has also said that wedge issues don't need to be what we are discussing right now. Unfortunately, his own colleagues in the General Assembly don't agree. Instead, they are more interested in discrimination than jobs and fixing our economy. They are interested in exclusion more than inclusion. They are interested in setting fire to freedom, liberty, and all this country holds sacred.

You see, many of them will tell you that we are losing our freedoms. They will blame it on socialism and liberalism. They try to tell you that the country is going to Hell and that they have the answers. From charter schools to vouchers to the free market...they cheer for all these things to make this country, as they say, more free and open.

Heaven forbid you want LOVE someone. Love that is the most personal of emotions. The State of Indiana wants to tell you that LOVE is not good enough to be with someone. That your LOVE is not good enough because you simply love someone that has the same genitalia as you. They will cite the Bible. They will curse you to Hell. It's a choice they say.

Well, it's not a choice. Not by a long shot. They don't believe in the science that clearly tells us that this is not a choice.

Governor Daniels and I don't agree on many things, and I've been hyper-critical of him, but we agree that governing by wedge issue is not a good way to show Hoosiers that you care about them.

I say to Governor Daniels, directly, please do the right thing, and when this bill crosses your desk. Send a message with your veto. Make your General Assembly friends go on record to overturn that veto.

As Bil Browning points out over on the Bilerico Project, the left side of the aisle has been pretty quiet. I think that there's a chance to get Governor Daniels over to our side if we talk to him.

Until then, to everyone, spread the word! Elections have consequences. They do. WE CREATED THIS MESS. Don't sit on the sidelines. Peacefully protest. Respectfully tell your Senators and Representatives how you feel. Tell them that no matter what their personal feelings are that Indiana cannot allow prejudice and discrimination back into its Constitution.

That's what's at stake.

UPDATE: I goofed. Governor Daniels doesn't get a crack at this one. That's a major faux pas from a guy that prides himself on knowing how government works. My apologies for any confusion, and thanks for the several comments that helped me correct this error.


Bradley said...

Well said, Jon. And why would the legislators who are behind this resolution want to push even more people from this state? As economist Morton Marcus recently (a couple years ago) said, Indiana is the South's middle finger jutting into the Midwest. If this resolution passes and is signed by Daniels (and then makes it through the 2012 GA session and a referendum by 2014), not only will gays be affected, but so will those who choose not to marry, yet have kids or property together (which of course is happening much more nowadays) and who would lose their rights. How is this going to help our economy?

Indiana has such a bad problem with divorce (see: Brandt Hershmann, one of this bill's biggest cheerleaders in the Senate who may/may not have forced his wife to have an abortion before he divorced her. See also: Mitch Daniels, whose wife left him and their kids to marry a doctor and move to California before marrying him AGAIN 3 years later), I agree, Jon, we need to get our priorities straight there as well.

I see now (courtesy of Doug Masson's blog) there is also a bill to make getting a marriage license more expensive if you do take classes first. Too bad some of the people who are rah-rahing this idiocy are not required to go back and take the classes themselves as "refreshers".

Hoosiers knew they were electing this crap last year, right? (No, they were told it was all about the economy. So far, the General Assembly has focused very little on the economy).

Bil Browning said...

FYI - Daniels doesn't get a veto. It's a constitutional amendment, so it passes the legislature and then goes to the ballot. It never passes Daniel's desk.

Hoosiers for Indiana said...

Thank you, You have hit the nail on the head! The talk of marriage is a "Hoosier Values", marriage isn't.

One question- Does the marriage issue provide jobs, outside of lobbyists?

Thanks again,
Ronald Rodgers

Indy Student said...

Bradley, Joint Resolutions don't go to the Governor's desk for a signature. In the case of a constitutional amendment, it gets passed twice by two separately elected legislatures (IE 2011 and 2013 or 2012 and 2014, and on the ballot in 2014) then sent to the referendum process.

Bradley said...

Sorry guys, thanks for the correction, I should've looked before I typed. I should just stick to what I know about how Daniels has ruined our state's unemployment! I was very mad about the Republicans on this issue, however, that I felt I had to say a few things.

As an observer of the governor during his term, I want to offer a quick point on Bill's and Matt's corrections: with the resolution not having to go to Daniels, he gets the best of both worlds. He gets to tell Democrats, Libertarians, socially-liberal Republicans, and whoever else hates this "reform" that he did not have his hand in it. Conversely, he gets to tell social conservatives in his party when he runs for President (and he will try to run) that during his tenure his legislature tried to add strong "pro family values" legislation" to the Indiana Constitution.

He is a shrewd politician.