Don Sherfick

First blog stage fright and the fine print

Filed By Don Sherfick | September 27, 2006 6:09 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: amendment, Indiana, marriage

Bil Browning, in what hopefully won't prove to be a lapse in his usually impeccable journalistic judgement, has added me to this site's list of contributors. In showing me the ins and outs of blogging, something totally new to me in my almost 68 years, he advised me to make things interesting by including a link every now and then. Take a look at this sizzler for starters and see if I got the message. Bil also told me to try and keep paragraphs to three sentences or less. So far, so good on that one.

Attorneys, and that term includes semi-retired ones like me, have a way of turning three sentences into thirty pages. I know that a lot of you "regulars" relish reading deeply into's many and varied offerings. But I also know that many of you suffer from AAAS (Acute Attenuated Attention Span-itis), and distrust anything that can't be condensed into a 15-second sound bite. So I have my work and literary self-discipline cut out for me.

The challange of conciseness and brevity has really hit home to me this past year in my association with Stop The Amendment, a partner in the Indiana Equality coalition. The organization's focus is to educate our Indiana General Assembly and fellow Hoosiers about the FINE PRINT in the so-called "Indiana Marriage Amendment" to our state's consitution.

The proposed amendment's "large print" simply limits Indiana marriage to one man and one woman (until death do they part unless one of them is Britney Spears in which case 55 hours will do very nicely, thank you) But the FINE PRINT is decidedly less sexy. Well,'s legalistic and boring:

This Consitution or any other Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Your first assignment, dear reader (if you are still awake and choose to accept it) is to read those 29 words slowly and carefully, over and over if necessary, and ask yourself critically: "What the heck does this stuff mean?" (Feel free to use a stronger set of words.) In my next post I'll try to give you my own take on it and why you and your state legislator should be very concerned about it. And I'll keep it all within your attention span. Well....mine at least. Happy head scratching!>

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I think your first post is a great one, Don! And I loved your "sizzle!" LMAO Welcome to the blog. May all your posts be as topical, relevant, and readable as this one!

As for the second part of the amendment, we've seen lots of movement lately from both Democratic and Republican legislators who are starting to figure out the consequences of that second part. In Ohio, domestic violence cases were dropped when the couples weren't married. In Michigan, public universities were forced to end domestic partner benefits. And the amendments those states passed mirror the one our legislators are trying to ram down our throats. Let's hope enough of them realize what's really going on before it's too late.

Marla R. Stevens | September 27, 2006 11:23 AM

Welcome, Don! Good to see you here!!

I have only to look next door to Indiana to Ohio and Michigan for cautionary tales about this vague and monumentally encompassing language.

It's not the amendment's ban on civil marriage between same-sex couples that gets me as much as the myriad other effects. After all, about civil marriage equality, it's DOMA -- particularly Federal DOMA -- that is the big whoop and, while it would be an extra hoop and take more time and money to get rid of an amendment, when people are ready to get rid of DOMA, they'll be ready to get rid of an amendment, too.

But the biggest pain to humans in the meantime will be the other stuff that this affects or that it's at least the intent of its proponents that it affects. It'll hurt education, domestic violence prevetion and care, and so many other areas of life for Hoosiers -- and not just queer ones, either.

The RePEr creeps in Indiana have a bad history of overreaching by messing with the rights of hets. Looks like they've done it again. It could be key to getting this gone but only if you make it so. Good luck.

Welcome Don!! Great first blog!!