« Ind. Gov't. - "That official is making how much? Public worker salaries on state databases" | Main | Ind. Decisions - Upcoming oral arguments this week and next »

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - "Zoeller wasting his effort" claims letter to Muncie Star-Press

The Muncie Star-Press today prints this letter from Joseph Castelo of Hartford City [emphasis by ILB]:

Regardless of how one feels about same gender marriage, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is on the wrong side of history and the inevitable. Indiana is not a defendant in this national legal issue. Yet Zoeller has taken it upon himself not only to participate, but to lead at taxpayer expense.

There are legal and factual issues that must be ignored in order to believe it is good policy to spend money, time and the efforts of his office on such pursuits. The Full Faith and Credit clause in the Constitution has been cited in many court decisions as upholding a contract or policy in force in one state being fully in force in others.

Civil marriage is a contract at law. It is a common law and legal tradition going back to the founding of the republic that if a person is legally married in an opposite gender marriage in one state they are legally married in all states. It is hard to see how this could not be true of same sex marriage.

Striking down state laws against inter-racial marriages by the Supreme Court also raised the issue of Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment. Limits on the permitted conditions for marriage, except for age without consent of a parent, have been generally rejected since.

Mr. Attorney General: Seeking to impose one set of some Hoosier’s moral standards on everyone is not realistic. Also, do not try to tell us it is costing no taxpayer money. Who pays your salary?

Attorney General Zoeller just this week defended his role as the leader of various states in opposition to marriage equality in this March 28th opinion piece in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Some quotes:
Indiana, represented by my office and joined by many other states, filed “friend of the court” briefs in the DOMA and Proposition 8 cases defending our state’s authority and the constitutionality of our current laws.

There are many who disagree with this position. I appreciate that there are strongly held views on both sides of this societal debate and understand that polls have shown a dramatic change in public attitude in recent years toward same-sex marriage.

But my duty as Indiana attorney general is to represent our state and to uphold and defend our state statutes when challenged, not to represent my personal views or what polls might suggest is popular opinion. * * *

As Indiana attorney general, I don’t get to define marriage or vote on legislation.

Instead, as the state government’s lawyer, I am obligated to defend our state’s laws passed by the people’s elected representatives in the Indiana legislature.

Our state’s legislative branch has the policy-making authority to license marriage within our state’s borders using the traditional marriage definition, and I will continue to defend their legal authority in court as necessary.

Rather than presuming to decide the constitutionality of our laws by leaving them undefended, I will uphold my responsibility to defend them and instead let the judicial branch decide whether they are constitutional, as is its role.

ILB: Some side notes:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 31, 2013 02:43 PM
Posted to Indiana Government