Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indiana proposes amendment to ban marriage AND civil unions

Because it's not just about marriage. It's about bias, pure and simple. From Bilerico:
This morning the Indiana State Senate Judiciary Committee passed SJR-13, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The legislation passed on a vote of 6-4 party line vote with one Senator out of the chamber at the time of the vote.

The amendment is now eligible for a full vote on the Senate floor where it's expected to pass handily. The Indiana State Senate has an overwhelming majority of Republicans.

The amendment would still have to pass the Indiana State House of Representatives before it could move on to the next stage needed on the way to a public referendum, The amendment is expected to fail in that chamber. Democrats hold the majority in the Indiana House.


Erika Baker said...

So how does this fit in with the federal case currently being heard?
Is the federal case about people being allowed to vote against same sex marriage, or is it also about elected senates being allowed to ban it in the first place?

And if the federal case was won, would Indiana then have to drop its amendment or even enact one in favour of same sex marriage?

IT said...

Hi Erika,
Good questions. The answer is, it all depends. First, no decision from the current trial will be binding until all the avenues of appeal are worked out. Whoever loses will ask the 9th Circuit court of Appeals for a review. Whoever loses at the 9th Circuit wlll ask the Supreme Court for a review. There will be no real influence on other states unless and until this gets reviewed by the Supreme Court, which will probably take 1-2 years.

If the SCOTUS find on our side in the Prop8 case, they could make a very sweeping decision, which might indeed influence, and potentially invalidate, amendments in other states. Or, they could be very focused on the situation in California, which is unique in that same sex marriage was legal before it was outlawed, in which case there is no relief for any other state. Or they could stand up for bigotry, in which case, it will take many many more years, probably decades to get justice.

People point at two civil rights cases: Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which found that "separate but equal" and racial segregationh was okay, and Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 which reversed Plessy. Once the Supreme Court makes a decision, it is very, very hard work to get them to review and reverse it. That's why a case that is going to go to the Supreme Court is very risky,