Three fundamental concerns are driving the formation of the new citizens organization:
I. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on all businesses and property owners, with a particularly negative impact on faith- based and faith-inspired businesses and property owners.
II. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on every citizen's constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.
III. The negative impact of the practice of homosexuality on the individuals who practice it and on the rest of the society.
The main multifaceted emphasis of the group is to defend Traditional Marriage as 'between one man and one woman', to respond to the controversy at the University of Notre Dame regarding homosexual activism at several levels, to respond to 'special rights for homosexuals' ordinances as they come forward in the Region and to facilitate help and ministry for those suffering from the ill effects of the homosexual lifestyle.
House to consider gay marriage amendmentMIKE SMITH
A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage will get a key hearing before an Indiana House committee next week. But a provision that critics say could have unintended consequences could be removed, a top lawmaker suggested Thursday.
Proponents of the amendment have said that if any of the language changes, it would restart the lengthy process of amending the constitution. But House Speaker Patrick Bauer, who has consulted attorneys on the matter, said the section that specifically bans same-sex marriage could still advance even if another provision is removed.
"I think that might be the case, but we'll see," said Bauer, D-South Bend.
The proposed amendment has two sections. The first states that marriage in Indiana is solely the union of one man and one woman. The second says the state constitution or state law cannot be construed to provide the benefits of marriage to unmarried couples or groups.
Some opponents of the amendment say the second provision is vague and could be used to nullify domestic violence laws that apply to married and unmarried couples. They also fear it could eliminate domestic partner benefits offered by employers and contracts that unmarried senior couples sometimes have to retain inheritances and share legal, financial and health care decisions.
Terre Haute attorney James Bopp Jr. and other supporters of the amendment say the second provision means courts cannot force the government to provide same-sex benefits, but it does not prohibit the government, public employers or anyone else from voluntarily offering such benefits.
Constitutional bans against same-sex marriage have led to lawsuits in some states, and more than 20 have yet to determine how they apply to benefits.
Next week's committee hearing is a key point in efforts to advance the amendment. Bauer refused to let the issue advance or even be debated in the House in 2004, when Democrats controlled that chamber. He said gay marriage already was prohibited by state law and accused Republicans of pushing the proposal for political reasons.
Republicans regained control of the House in 2005, and the current proposal won approval in both chambers that year.
Amending Indiana's constitution requires a resolution to pass consecutive, separately elected General Assemblies and then be approved in a statewide vote. The Legislature passed the proposal in 2005, so if it is approved this year or in 2008, it could appear on the November 2008 ballot.
The Senate already has approved the proposed amendment this year.
House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, has said that changing the wording would restart the process and has repeatedly voiced concern that Democrats would alter the proposal's language.
Bauer said that would occur only through the committee process and if those concerned about the second provision showed up for the hearing and presented a competent case.
"I've said before, the process will run its course," he said.
The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before the House Rules Committee.
< Back >
CREATIVE SERVICES PROVIDED BY CREEKSIDE DESIGN