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To attend
It’s About More Than Marriage: Examining HJR 6 Through Faith and Politics; 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., Sunday, at Congregation Achduth Vesholom Synagogue, 5200 Old Mill Road. To register call 744-4245 or email The cost is $12 or $5 for students.
What’s at stake
The report from Indiana Equality Action, titled “More Than Just a Couple: 614 Reasons Why Marriage Equality Matters in Indiana,” lists 614 Indiana laws that would be affected by a constitutional amendment against marriage equality. Here are a few examples from the report:
•For purposes of day care regulation, a person younger than 18 is considered to be “related” to someone if he or she has a relationship with that person through marriage, blood or adoption.
• Power of attorney may be given to the spouse of a person who is in need of self-directed in-home care if that person is younger than 21, , suffers a brain injury or is mentally deficient.
•A dependent child is eligible for assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families if the child lives in a family home with a stepparent.
•A person who is financially supported by his or her spouse will not qualify as a needy individual with a disability for purposes of public assistance.
•The spouse of a mentally ill individual may initiate a proceeding to commit that individual to an appropriate institution.
•For purposes of child support, custody and visitation, “child” refers to the child or children of both parties to a marriage.
•Generally, upon the death of a spouse who does not have a will, the surviving spouse takes either: a) the entire estate if the decedent has no children or surviving parents, b) one-half of the estate if the decedent has any children (then living or not), or c) three-fourths of the estate if the decedent has a surviving parent or parents.
Then-Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, speaks to several hundred people gathered at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis in 2011 to rally against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

Sanctioned discrimination

WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

– Article 1, Section 1 of Indiana Constitution

Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

– Proposed Article 1, Section 38

of Indiana Constitution

under House Joint Resolution 6

Not only would the passage of House Joint Resolution 6 be contradictory to the Indiana Constitution, it would have far-reaching consequences that would harm all Hoosiers if adopted. Citizens should be wary of the damage it would do, particularly for economic development, without providing any real benefit.

A report released Monday by the LGBT Project at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law for Indiana Equality Action found that 614 Indiana laws would be affected if the constitutional amendment passed.

Proponents suggest the goal of the amendment is to protect traditional marriage. But the vague language, specifically the second sentence, would instead drastically affect myriad state family laws.

State law already limits marriage to between one man and one woman. The amendment would prohibit state lawmakers from enacting legislation that would offer any version of civil unions.

It would endanger numerous legal protections for any couple, gay or straight, who are part of a relationship “substantially similar to marriage.” For example, it would nullify legal agreements between unmarried heterosexual couples, including agreements about how joint property is handled and wills or trusts governing inheritance. It would also eliminate hospital visitation rights.

“This research helps illuminate the extent to which many provisions of the Indiana Code are legally and linguistically tied to civil marriage, family, and spousal relationships. Civil marriage in Indiana confers upon Hoosier families a range of rights, as well as a host of responsibilities owed to others,” said the report.

Fort Wayne residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the effort to amend the state constitution at an event sponsored by the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation and Congregation Achduth Vesholom on Sunday. The forum, “It’s About More Than Marriage: Examining HJR 6 Through Faith and Politics,” is meant to educate the public about the difference between a law – which can more easily be changed – and a constitutional amendment. Speakers will also share information about some of the lesser-known intricacies of the proposed amendment, such as what would happen to cohabitating couples and the potential effects on child support if a couple never marries.

One of the biggest concerns about the amendment is the damage it would do to Indiana businesses. It would encroach on employers’ rights to provide health care benefits in same-sex partnerships, a benefit several prominent Indiana businesses have previously said is imperative for attracting high-quality employees.

“We will be reluctant to add jobs if Indiana is a less-welcoming and -inclusive place for all our employees,” Jill Cook, vice president for human resources at Cummins Inc., in Columbus, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2011.

A representative from Eli Lilly and Co. appeared at the same hearing, also to speak in opposition to the constitutional amendment.

Hoosiers should be very skeptical of changing the constitution in a way that would discourage economic development to demonstrate the state’s official disapproval of an individual’s legal choice of a partner.

For it to become a constitutional amendment, the General Assembly would have to pass the measure in 2013 or 2014. Then it would be up to Hoosier voters to have the final say in the November 2014 election.

The General Assembly has far more appropriate and important tasks. Moreover, every article of the Indiana Constitution provides for the protection of citizens’ rights. If this passes it would be the first language that would take away Hoosiers’ rights and enshrine discrimination into the constitution.