Saturday, November 02, 2013
Law - "Purdue Exponent: Opposition surrounds same-sex marriage ban" and more about New Jersey
The Purdue Exponent ran this story on Oct. 31st. Several corrections in the otherwise informative story may be in order. First some quotes:
ILB: Indiana and New Jersey are not both red states, New Jersey is a blue state. Both state do have republican governors, but some might classify Governors Pence and Christie at opposite ends of the term "conservative."
Jennifer Wagner, communications director for Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan coalition group opposing House Joint Resolution 6, said, “More than 70 percent of Hoosiers believe some legal protections should exist for same-sex couples. This amendment would permanently prohibit civil unions, domestic partnerships or other relationships substantially similar to marriage.”
According to the Indiana General Assembly website, the amendment provides that only marriage between one man and one woman should be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. It also says a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
Despite the fact the amendment has the possibility for a widespread effect on the state, some students on campus were shocked to learn of the situation.
“I had no idea,” said Megan Cramer, a senior in the College of Agriculture. “I don’t approve.”
This amendment follows New Jersey’s passage of a law allowing same-sex couples to marry. Indiana and New Jersey are both considered red states, and both have conservative governors. This raises the question of the difference between the states and the laws that they are passing.
Wagner thinks a lack of discussion could be to blame.
“Right now, the only conversation we’re having in Indiana is a conversation about HJR-6, which would permanently ban any legal protections for same-sex and unmarried couples,” Wagner said.
Cramer thinks a lack of motivation as well as a lack of protests could also add to the situation.
“I never hear or see anyone here in Indiana fighting for gay rights,” Cramer said. “I know they’re out there, but I don’t see anyone in Indiana fighting for them on the political end.”
Wagner said the amendment would not just affect a select group of people, but would affect Indiana as a whole, and he [sic.] encourages Indiana residents to take action.
“This amendment permanently threatens liberty for all Hoosiers, and sends the message that our state is an unwelcoming place that values neither fairness nor freedom,” said Wagner. “The issue affects everyone, and common sense Hoosiers know this is not the direction we want to take our state.”
Although New Jersey passed a law in 2012 allowing same-sex couples to marry, Governor Christie vetoed the bill. Last month a trial court in New Jersey issued a ruling making gay marriage legal, and the NJ supreme court issued a ruling indicating it would uphold the trial court. (See ILB entry from Oct. 18.) Gov. Christie on Oct. 21 withdrew his court challenge. Therefore, the trial court's order, directing state officials to permit otherwise eligible same-sex couples to enter into civil marriage starting Oct. 21, remains in effect.
Yesterday, Nov. 1, Matt Friedman of the Newark Star-Ledger reported in a story headed "Legislative leaders consider not writing gay marriage into N.J. law, for now at least." The interesting story explains that rather than trying to override the vetoed 2012 bill (apparently they can do that in NJ), legislative leaders are looking at doing nothing, relying instead on the court opinion. Some quotes:
TRENTON — When Republican Gov. Chris Christie dropped his appeal of a Superior Court judge’s decision to legalize gay marriage in New Jersey, the prospect of the Democrat-led Legislature simply letting the decision stand without writing it into state law was considered unlikely.
But now, as legislative leaders weigh their options, the idea of doing nothing at all — at least for the time being — is gaining momentum.
At issue, lawmakers and gay rights advocates say, is that gay couples have more rights under the court ruling than they would under the bill (S1) that Democrats passed in 2012, which Christie promptly vetoed.
"Overriding the veto will take away certain rights that currently exist based on the court decision, or let’s put it this way, have not been eliminated," said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), one of prime sponsors of the gay marriage bill in the upper house.
Weinberg was referring to a religious exemption included in the bill that is not addressed in the court decision. Under the 1st Amendment, clergy will never be forced to perform gay marriages, Weinberg said. But the bill the Democrats passed would have also allowed any religious "society, institution or organization" to deny gay couples "space, services, advantages, goods, or privileges related to the solemnization, celebration or promotion of marriage."
Under the bill, a group affiliated with a religion — such as the Knights of Columbus — would have been allowed to refuse to rent a hall to a gay couple who wanted to be married or have a reception. Under the court decision, that question is not addressed.
After Christie dropped his appeal of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision to legalize gay marriage, the Legislature had three options. They could do nothing, attempt to override Christie’s 2012 veto, or pass a new, "clean" bill that would make gay marriage state law that Republicans could support without overriding Christie.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 2, 2013 11:48 AM
Posted to General Law Related