Chris Douglas

The Big Lie

Filed By Chris Douglas | January 30, 2007 9:22 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: SJR-7

It's important that the community... and the Press... be aware of Senate Republican strategy with regard to the amendment to the Constitution. Republican Senators are engaging in the Big Lie, taking refuge in an argument that the Amendment does not say what it says, and that it will not have the effect that its words convey. The Big Lie enables Senators like Theresa Lubbers, whose constituency is progressive, but who herself is conservative, to say that it has no effect on civil union or any other similar package of rights.

But the words of the second part of the Amendment are plain: "This Constitution 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." As a result of these words, whatever law that the legislature may pass that extends any legal incident associated with marriage, no matter its name, to same sex couples would be unconstitutional.

Micah Clark of the Indiana Family Association knows this, for he has advised his followers that it would prevent a judge from interpreting a law as requiring civil union... even a law with the INTENT of creating civil union.

The Republican Senators understand they must maintain a united front on this point, for to allow that the law has a far broader impact merely than banning marriage is to invite public discussion of that broader impact, and editorial opinion. Given that the majority of Hoosiers are polled as supporting some rights for same sex couples, which this amendment would ban, any broader discussion would threaten the Amendment's prospects for passage.

To the community and the press: Don't be thrown by any such claim. Wherever it is employed, the virtue of the Big Lie strategy is that it is so audacious that you can't imagine what you are being told so publicly is false. It is a lie designed to confound, confuse, and disarm the Press by shaking its confidence long enough for passage of to occur without editorial opposition.

The Emperor marches nude through our legislature.

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Here is what I wrote to my mom, dad, and (married) sister - they still live in Indiana, and are potential voters for this:

This amendment is NOT going to allow for anyone to visit each other in the hospital (that is a ?married? right) ? it is NOT going to allow people to pass property on without huge taxation to the ?non-married? partner. It will also negate completely several businesses and state universities (for example IU, which has since the 70s given domestic partners access to health insurance) ? the opportunities to allow same-sex couples to have insurance. This Indiana amendment goes waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy beyond just ?stating that queers can?t get married.?

Please do not vote for this ? two same-sex people partnering will not hurt your marriage, [sister], or yours, Mom and Dad.

We already cannot get married ? that is taken care of federally ? why vote for something that is so cruel and far-reaching? This amendment (IN) is the most punative and hateful by far ? in that it will cut so many people off from insurance benefits, etc. It will also cut families off ? say that a professor or any employee of IU is the ?working? partner, and the other partner stayed home to care for the kids ? and say the kids were born by that stay at home partner ? or adopted by him/her ? not only would the adult partner lose insurance ? all of the children would too.



Chris - help me out. How is saying that a court may not interpret the state constitution to "require" civil unions the same as saying that a new law which allows civil unions would therefore be unconstitutional if this Amendment was adopted? I am no fan of this ridiculous Amendment, but I am not sure I can agree with your interpretation. If the constitution itself says that it may not be interpreted to require something, that is not the same as saying that it prohibts that thing, is it??? I may be off in my Con Law recollection, but I don't see that these are the same.

Never mind. I think I see your point. It is the "or any other law" language, right? See, I need to not post after 10:00 p.m. ;-)

Perhaps as many as two years ago I Emailed the Catholic Bishop of Evansville concerning this issue. As a Catholic I never received a reply. The amendment could effectively disallow any of the present legal instruments which gay peoples may now use. Were the efficacy of those legal instruments to be questioned in court as conferring the legal incidents of marriage, such instruments, including perhaps even wills when considered in the light of other instruments instituted by a gay couple, might be disavowed.

I asked the Bishop if the amendment did not then go to far and constituted a "sign of unjust discrimination" as is elucidated in the Catholic Catechism []. I guess they're running scared if they can't own up to this issue and cannot face their own facts.


Chris Douglas | January 31, 2007 6:16 AM

Adam, you've got it. If the amendment read only that "the Constitution may not be construed to require", then a judge would not be able apply the equal protection clause of the Constitution to invalidate legislative bans on marriage or to require that its privileges and immunities to be extended to apply to all classes of citizens. That would suffice to ensure that the power of the legislature held sway.

But the forces of aggression are not content with that. They know that a generation is fast approaching legislative office... and in some instances is already here... that would be pleased to support relationship rights for same sex couples such as protect married couples, however they may be packaged or however they may be named.

So they need to have "or any other law" included in the language so that when generations now under the age of 40 inevitably achieves power, they will not have the ability to pass laws that may be construed as requiring that any incident of marriage be extended to same sex couples.

Don Sherfick | January 31, 2007 6:22 AM

What also needs to be hammered to the press and the public is that even the framers of the Federal Marriage Amendment, after which SJR7 is patterned, changed it to make sure state legislatures kept the authority to create civil unions and ANY type of "marriage like" benefit. And they also got rid of the term "unmarried couples". But as part of the "Big Lie" Chris writes about, the Republican leadership won't acknowledge the fact that they've kept SJR7 the same. Why? Talk about a cover up!

Count The Votes | January 31, 2007 9:35 AM

I couldn't bring myself to go to the Statehouse today because I'd strangle someone. This Amendment will pass the Senate anyway, probably with only 12-15 negative votes. (sigh)

Today's public relations charade is just that. A mockery of citizen participation.

The real battle is in the House, probably in two to four weeks. There, no thanks to Mr. Speaker, it'll have a chance to get changed so this Amendment will die its rightful death.

Marla R. Stevens | March 6, 2007 12:33 PM

Count The Votes and others afraid of your reactions: Go anyway. Chances are, the worst you'll do is join in those being mildly disruptive -- you'll sing in a hearing and get tossed or lose it and start yelling the truth and get tossed.

At most you'll deck someone who gets in your face and won't take fair warning regarding their fighting words...awwwww. The blogosphere will then get to cluck a bit about how bad you made us look and life will go on with the only difference that the forces of evil will pay closer attention to the effects of their fighting words -- and that wouldn't be a bad thing.

If this doesn't make your passions rise, you might as well go to Crown Hill, dig yourself an early hole, and climb in.

But do me a favor, don't bring any weapons. That would get you killed and you I wouldn't want to lose.