Why Marriage Opponents are Pushing an Amendment in Indiana

Yesterday the Indiana House passed an amendment to stop gay couples from getting married in the state. Yet Indiana already has a law that does this, so why is an amendment also needed? The answer is clear: the momentum is on our side, not theirs.

A majority of Americans support the freedom to marry, and the number of those in favor is growing, not shrinking. The House vote took place after less than 30 minutes of debate – an unusually short time for such a measure. Why? Because supporters of the amendment don't want anyone to hear about the stories of loving couples and vibrant families that have been seen recently in the legislatures of Iowa and Maryland. Those real-life examples would show how the claimed reasons for needing to pass the measure are hollow and cruel.

"Constitutions should be respected as shields of fairness for all, not used as weapons to discriminate and harm," said Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson. "Marriage is not defined by those who are excluded from it, but instead by the love and commitment between two people. And marriage is not protected by excluding committed couples and their loved ones from legal protections and singling them out for unfair treatment by the government itself."

Worse yet, the amendment says that "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." Translation: civil union (for gay or straight couples) would also be banned. The amendment's sponsor says that it wouldn't affect things like insurance benefits for people registered as domestic partners, but that's actually unclear.

The amendment now goes to the Senate, which is likely to pass it. The measure would then need to be passed by the next legislature, then go on the ballot. Wolfson urged its rejection, saying, "Government should be on the side of all families, not putting barriers in their paths as they seek to care for their loved ones."