Friday, 01 April 2011

Indiana Moves Closer to Passing Marriage Protection Amendment

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On March 29 the Indiana State Senate overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. The 40-to-10 vote came on the heels of passage of the amendment in the state House by a 70 to 26 margin. “The basic unit of our society is a family, and I think the cornerstone of a family is a marriage, a man and a woman having children,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Senator Dennis Kruse.

Focus on the Family explained that the bill — like amendments in more than a score of other state constitutions that define marriage as the union of only a man and woman — “has received approval in the Senate for many years, but repeatedly stalled in the previously Democrat-controlled House. It does not require the governor’s signature.”

Republican Senator Jim Banks indicated that the goal is to protect the foundational institution of the family from those trying to redefine it to include homosexual partnerships. “This is a pro-family, pro-marriage endeavor,” he asserted, “strengthening the institution of marriage and protecting it in the state of Indiana.”

During hearings on the measure, homosexual activists brought in officials from businesses throughout the state who insisted that the amendment would block them from providing benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. Jill Cook, director of human resources for Cummins Inc., even testified that the amendment would “cause irreparable harm to the business climate.”

But the argument ultimately did not hold water, as proponents of the amendment pointed out that private businesses can provide health benefits or domestic-partnership benefits to anyone they wish.

After the victory, Ryan McCann, director of public policy at the Indiana Family Institute, reflected that for the past several years “marriage opponents have claimed that support for marriage between one man and one woman is fading.” He recalled that Indiana Equality Action, the state’s leading homosexual activist group, “went so far as to pay for a biased poll to fool legislators, the media and the public into believing that Hoosiers no longer support marriage. Yet, the people have overwhelmingly elected pro-marriage House and Senate candidates in election after election, most dramatically in 2010, and the House and Senate approved the Marriage Amendment this session by dramatic margins.”

In spite of the most recent victory, McCann pointed out that the House and Senate must approve the amendment again during their 2013-14 legislative session, after which the measure will be sent to Indiana voters for final passage in 2014. “Hoosiers must keep a pro-marriage majority in the House and Senate in the November 2012 elections,” he emphasized. “If that occurs then step two will be completed if and when the House and the Senate [pass] the Marriage Amendment again, without changes, in 2013 or 2014. If that occurs then we move on to step three, where Hoosier citizens, rather than unelected judges, will get to decide once and for all how marriage should be defined by their government.”

Just like the voters who have helped to pass marriage protection amendments in 31 states, “Hoosiers have a choice,” challenged McCann. “We can wait for homosexual activists and liberal legal advocates to push same-sex marriage through our courts as they have done in states around the country, including Iowa, or we can protect marriage once and for all by defining it in our state's constitution.”

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