Indiana Voters Denied Chance to Protect Marriage

by Jennifer Mesko, associate editor

Democrat-dominated committee kills proposed amendment.

On Tuesday, the Indiana House Rules Committee voted 5-5 on a resolution supporting an amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, effectively killing it and dealing a blow to family advocates and Hoosier values.

Ryan McCann, director of operations and public policy for the Indiana Family Institute, said he was surprised by the vote, but understands what happened.

“(The Democrats) knew this was the only way they could really reward those folks who have supported them, and the gay-rights groups,” McCann said. “The goal has always been to bring about gay marriage through the courts.”

Without an amendment to protect marriage, McCann fears gay-activist groups will pour into the courts to try to overturn the Indiana law that protects traditional marriage.

Mona Passignano, state issues analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the committee members who voted against the amendment need to listen to the people.

“The fact that they felt the need to sacrifice the rights of voters in this instance certainly doesn’t speak very highly for the five members,” she said, “who apparently felt like the people of Indiana did not deserve the right to vote on this critical issue.”

According to The Associated Press, several lawmakers who voted against the proposal said they were concerned about the potential consequences of the second section, which includes a phrase that says state law “may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”

“I think the voters of the state of Indiana should have a right to express their views on the issue,” resolution sponsor Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, told The AP.

McCann said that could happen soon. Democratic representatives, who are up for re-election next year, could decide to listen to their conservative constituents and pass the amendment in 2008.