Indiana vote on constitutional ban on gay marriage faces hurdle

INDIANAPOLIS Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:23pm EST

Two bride figurines are seen during a rally in response to the California Supreme Court's ruling regarding Proposition 8 in Hollywood, California May 26, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Two bride figurines are seen during a rally in response to the California Supreme Court's ruling regarding Proposition 8 in Hollywood, California May 26, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - The Indiana House on Tuesday approved a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, bucking a national trend where legislatures in other states have been making same-sex marriages legal.

State representatives voted 57-40 to advance the proposed amendment, which removed language that would have also banned civil unions.

The proposed amendment has been on lawmakers plates in the majority-Republican state legislature since 2004. Lawmakers approved the amendment in 2011 and must approve it in the same form in this session to put it to a popular vote in 2014.

By removing previous language that banned civil unions, the amendment has undergone a change that makes it ineligible for the ballot in the state's election in November.

Indiana representatives cut a sentence that said: "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."

The proposal next goes to the state Senate, which could approve it as presented or restore the original language, which, if the House concurred, could allow the constitutional amendment to be put to voters this year.

"We are pleased the process continues and look forward to working with the Senate to restore the people's right to resolve this issue this year," said Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute, which supports the amendment.

Megan Robertson, campaign manager for amendment opponents Freedom Indiana, said removal of the sentence was encouraging.

"This issue has no place on the ballot in any year, but it certainly should not go before voters in its original form this year," Robertson said.

A decade ago, no states allowed same-sex couples to marry. Since then, same-sex marriage has been made legal in 17 states plus the District of Columbia - including eight states in 2013.

Thirty-three states ban gay marriage by state statute, constitutional amendment, or both. Indiana bans gay marriage by statute and supporters have said a constitutional amendment would provide additional protection from court challenges.

The action in Indiana follows two high profile rulings on gay marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The court paved the way for gay marriage to resume in California and struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Federal judges cited the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling in finding same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional in Utah and Oklahoma. Those decisions are under appeal.

(Reporting by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz; Writing by David Bailey; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (4)
gregbrew56 wrote:
Really?

*sigh*

Jan 28, 2014 7:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
dualcitizen wrote:
A Speech Every American High School Principal Should
Give.
By Dennis Prager .

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so.
There is no greater calling than to teach young
people.

I would like to apprise you of some important
changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am
convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in
America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our
country.

First, this school will no longer honor race or
ethnicity.
I could not care less if your racial makeup is
black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins
are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived
here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the
only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your
character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity
this school will care about is American.

This is an American public school, and American
public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm
an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go
elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity, race and non-American
nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America , one of
its three central values — Epluribus Unum, “from many, one.” And this
school will be guided by America ‘s values. This includes all after-school
clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any
identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or
whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political
correctness.

Your clubs will be based on interests and passions,
not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just
cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while
the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will
have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music,
astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the
only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are
those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little
outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your
native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave
this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The
English language has united America ‘s citizens for over 200 years, and it
will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this
country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave
this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in
my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the
American job market. We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable
that most Americans only speak English — if you want classes taught in your
native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred
endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status.
This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress
accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood
events than for church or school. These people have their priorities
backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated
anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or
at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f -word, you can’t
speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal
Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by
one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed
by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this
school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish
between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this
school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people
attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One
immediate consequence is that there will beONE valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward
academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be
devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about
sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to
condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or
primarily a health issue… There will be no more attempts to convince you
that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not
heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you
graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately
fortunate — to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of
Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words,
your teachers will hand them out to you.

Jan 28, 2014 7:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gregbrew56 wrote:
dualcitizen,

Exactly how does your novel relate to the article?

Jan 29, 2014 11:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
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