Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to Support a Civil Marriage Study Committee
Indiana Senate Democratic Leader State Vi Simpson (Ellettsville), has introduced Senate Resolution No. 12, calling for a study of “alternatives to civil marriage”. The study committee would convene sometime this summer and make recommendations to the General Assembly based on its study and findings.
The full text of the resolution can be read here It notes that civil marriage, a creation of the State, is a civil right that enhances the community’s welfare, provides for orderly property distribution, ensures support and care of children and adults, and encourages stable relationships over transient ones. It also notes that many Hoosiers are excluded from civil marriage and its protections.
The Resolution contemplates a complete review of civil marriage structure, in light of the 2010 passage of HJR6, the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. If HJR-6 were to be passed again in 2013, it would be sent to the voters and if approved, would enshrine such a broad prohibition into Indiana’s constitution. In view of this possibility, the resolution calls for a study of the alternatives to civil marriage. This would affect all unmarried couples.
Indiana Equality Action commends Senator Simpson for introducing and supporting this resolution. If adopted it would not retract the General Assembly’s 2011 vote to approve HJR-6 the first time. Indiana Equality Action has vigorously opposed HJR-6, and will continue to do so, and will also work to advance positive legislative measures to give same gender couples the full rights and benefits their civilly-married counterparts now enjoy.
The proposed study would be an important initial step in identifying the rights and benefits currently denied unmarried couples. It is especially valuable because unlike a prior version of the proposed amendment (SJR-7), the amendment would go beyond merely restricting so-called “activist judges”, but would bar the General Assembly itself, as elected representatives of the people, from enacting anything “substantially similar” (a vague and controversial term) to civil marriage. The study of alternatives to civil marriage could highlight the conflict between what; if anything that would be left to the General Assembly should HJR-6 become law.
We urge you to contact your State Senator to support SR 12. Regardless of how they might feel about marriage equality or HJR-6, what open minded lawmaker would be against a study of such matters important to a valuable segment of Hoosier citizenry?
Thank you again for all your support!
Rick Sutton, President of Indiana Equality Action