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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ind. Law - "Opponents talk children, voting in Franklin College marriage debate"; More

John Sittler of the $$ TheStatehouseFile has video and a story today on last night's debate at Franklin College on the marriage amendment. Some quotes:

FRANKLIN, Ind. – The president of an Indiana family institution said Monday that the decision over the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage should be left up to the residents of Indiana.

But Jane Henegar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said it’s not right for Hoosiers to put the rights of their neighbors up to a vote.

The discussion was part of a debate hosted Monday night at Franklin College that featured Henegar and Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute. * * *

Henegar opened the discussion by saying passage of the amendment would be a “permanent stain” on the state constitution. She would come back to this phrase often throughout the night, as she urged the General Assembly not to pass House Joint Resolution 3.

Smith lobbied in favor of the amendment – and its accompanying House Bill 1153. He said it’s time to let Hoosiers decide the “role marriage should play in our state’s great life.”

“I trust Hoosiers,” he said.

But Henegar said it would be “foolhardy and harmful” to pass legislation she said is very unclear. She echoed many House Democrats who have said it is unnecessary to pass a 73-line bill to explain a 16-line amendment.

She said this demonstrates HJR 3 does not contain language that should be put into the state’s constitution. And she said she is not alone in this belief.

“The majority of Hoosiers agree this is not the way we should deal with same-sex marriage,” Henegar said.

Howey Politics yesterday had a long story by Matthew Butler headed "Legal heavyweights Rusthoven, Bopp argue HJR-3, then no vote." The story quotes at length the testimony of both Peter Rusthoven and James Bopp.

Maureen Hayden, Statehouse reporter for CNHI, has a long story today on yesterday's committee testimony. The well-crafted story begins:

INDIANAPOLIS — Carolyn Rhoton and the Rev. Donald McCord spent more than four hours sitting on hard benches outside the Indiana House chamber Monday, having started the morning with conflicting prayers.

Rhoton, a retired nurse from Lebanon, said she prayed for legislators to have the wisdom to push forward a ban on same-sex marriage, ultimately putting it to voters on the November ballot. “I believe it’s what God wants,” she said.

McCord, a retired pastor in Indianapolis, said his prayer was for those same lawmakers to have the wisdom to kill the resolution and stop an increasingly divisive fight in Indiana. “We ought not to be passing legislation on how other people ought to live their lives,” he said.

Neither of their prayers was answered.

Having heard hours of emotional testimony, the House Judiciary Committee unexpectedly failed to vote to send the amendment to the state constitution on to the full House. It was the first hearing on the contentious matter this session, and committee Chairman Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, said members wanted more time to reflect on the testimony.

What they heard was divided opinion from legal experts, faith leaders, and average citizens about the amendment that would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Jim Bopp, a prominent conservative lawyer from Terre Haute and former member of the Republican National Committee, spoke in favor and predicted the amendment would hold up in court.

Peter Rusthoven, a prominent conservative lawyer from Indianapolis and former adviser to President Ronald Reagan, opposed the amendment and a companion bill that seeks to explain the amendment’s intent. He predicted legal challenges would keep litigators busy for years to come. He suggested renaming the measure as the “Full Employment For Lawyers Act,” eliciting laughter from the crowds inside and outside the House chamber.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 14, 2014 09:29 AM
Posted to Indiana Law