The Indiana State Senate passed the gay marriage amendment by the disgustingly wide margin of 40-10. Since the House has already passed the same bill, the first of three steps required to add discrimination to the Indiana Constitution is now complete.
Changing the constitution in Indiana requires two consecutive, separately elected legislatures to pass the bill. If that occurs, the amendment must then be passed by the voters. Should that happen, the amendment then becomes part of our state's defining document. I talk more about this in my first blog on this issue, Gay Marriage in Indiana....Constitutional Discrimination Coming Soon!
There is already a state law banning gay marriage in Indiana. Adding a constitutional amendment is unnecessary and redundant. (Those two words describe so much of what government does...unnecessary and redundant.) Proponents of the amendment love to say that the amendment is necessary to prevent activist judges from changing the law as it currently is. The truth, though, is that attitude towards gay marriage is changing at an exponential rate. Lawmakers know that within a very short number of years there will to be plenty of support to pass legislation making gay marriage legal and recognized in Indiana. If they can pass an amendment now, then public approval of gay marriage will mean it will still take several years before it can be legal.
If this amendment passes another legislature and the voters, then our only hope to eliminate this discrimination will be...*gulp*...the federal government. That's right, the feds. If this amendment becomes a reality then the only way it could ever get removed from our constitution in a short period of time is if the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional on the federal level. That process could take even longer than the process of re-changing our amendment.
This is what our legislators are banking on. They are begging for this to get passed now so that it will take years and years for it to ever get changed again. They know that public opinion will soon demand recognition of gay marriage, so they take steps now to smack down that public opinion. And that's what they consider a victory.
The bright side to all this is that there are still two more steps that must be taken to change the constitution. After the 2012 elections, another State House and State Senate must pass the amendment, and then the voters must give it the green light. We have time to make our opinions known, but we must be loud and we must start now. Start talking to people and start calling and emailing legislators today to prevent an embarrassing horror from happening tomorrow.