Get ready, gay Hoosiers! It’s already illegal in Indiana for you to get married. But that’s just not enough for the religious right. They want a constitutional amendment that says marriage is between one man and one woman.
Why do they want a constitutional amendment? Because it’s so much harder to change. See, if they just run with the current law on the books, then gay marriage rights can be provided by any upcoming legislature. Amending the state constitution, though, means it would take years and years to ever allow homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals in Indiana.
That’s because changing the constitution in Indiana isn’t easy (nor should it be.) To change the constitution in Indiana, the amendment must pass through two separately elected legislatures and then also pass a vote by the citizens. The amendment currently being discussed would have to be approved by the current legislature, then re-approved by the legislature in 2013 or 2014, then approved by voters in 2014.
So what happens if this amendment gets passed (you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think this is on the path to get passed.) Immediately, nothing will change for the gay community; they can’t marry now and they won’t be able to marry then. The change is in the number of hurdles they’ll have to jump to finally get the same rights as everyone else. You see, today gay marriage could be allowed at any time. If this amendment gets through, though, gays wouldn’t be able to gain marriage rights in Indiana until 2018…at the EARLIEST. And to get them by 2018, the legislative stars would have to align in a very specific way.
Why are they even trying to pass this amendment? To protect marriage, so they say. What supporters of the amendment fail to discuss, though, is that homosexual marriage is not the problem with marriage today. Divorce rates are through the roof, number of people married multiple times is through the roof, custody battles are increasing in both frequency and ferocity. The problem with marriage today has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuals or with gay marriage. Today’s problems with marriage have only to do with marriage between one man and one woman. The fight to “save marriage” should be focused there.
(Because so little data is currently available it’s not worth showing statistics, but early information from the states that allow gay marriage indicate incredibly low divorce rates among gays.)
The government should stay out of the business of who can or cannot get married. The government should view marriage the same as they do a contract; government should recognize the contract and help to settle disputes over it. If homosexuals wish to marry, then they should be allowed to marry.
Government should stay out of the religious side of marriage, too, though. When gay marriage is legalized (an inevitability, even if far off) then no requirement to conduct gay marriages should be made of churches. If a church does not wish to conduct gay marriage ceremonies, then there should be no legal requirement for them to do so.