History has been made, folks! SJR-7, the proposed amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions, has been defeated in committee. The amendment is dead.
The committee deadlocked in a 5-5 vote. (All democrats except for Rep Dennis Oxley voted against the amendment.) No amendments were offered to strike the extremely damaging Part B which forced the committee to vote on the merits of the entire amendment.
Dan Parker, Indiana Democratic Party chairman, commented after the hearing, "House Democrats took a stand today against ill-crafted legislation that would have done more harm than good. This wasn't a vote against traditional marriage; it was a vote for protecting vulnerable Hoosiers and promoting job growth. At a time when Indiana is bleeding thousands of jobs each month, the last thing we need to do is restrict our major employers and send the wrong message to companies and workers that might be looking to move here."
None of this would have been possible without the courageous stand taken by Indiana companies like Cummins Engine, Wellpoint, Dow AgroSciences, Eli Lilly, and Emmis Communications. These corporations correctly pointed out that SJR-7 would negatively affect their ability to recruit quality employees by painting Indiana as an intolerant state to live and work in.
Domestic violence advocate Kerry Blomquist also played an extremely important role by pointing out the serious dangers posed to unmarried victims of domestic violence. Her testimony was extremely powerful to committee members who feared Indiana would become another Ohio and be forced to let domestic violence offenders out of jail.
And of course, none of this would have been possible without the work of countless individuals and organizations who have worked tirelessly both behind the scenes and in public to convince legislators of the damage the amendment would cause.
Congratulations, folks. We all deserve credit for this one. It honestly takes a community to pull something like this off. Indiana has come a long way in terms of LGBT organizing (and has a long way to go!) but it's awfully sweet to taste victory again.