Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Burton's Pledge To Correct Unintended Consequences of SJR-7

The Evansville Courier-Press story today on yesterday's rally focuses a great deal of attention on the second paragraph of SJR-7 and the unintended consequences which will follow in its wake if it is enacted. Included in the story is a very noteworthy quote from Rep. Woody Burton (R-Greenwood), one of the legislature's most anti-gay lawmakers and the original author of Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act. Burton insists SJR-7 will not prohibit domestic partner benefits, impact the state's domestic violence laws or have any of the other consequences the plain language of SJR-7's second paragraph is likely to produce. If SJR 7 did have an unintended legal effect, Burton said, "I will do whatever I could to make sure that problem is corrected."

One of the issues which confounds opponents of SJR-7 is the insistence of its proponents that they are not trying to discriminate against gays and lesbians; rather, they only want to preserve the "sanctity of marriage." Yet, those same lawmakers refuse to support amending the state's civil rights law to protect this same group of people from discrimination, arguing that such a move extends "special rights" to gays and lesbians, unlike everyone else who is already covered by the state's civil rights law. Making matters worse, these same lawmakers have allowed Indiana to become just one of 5 states in the country without a hate crimes law. While the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee did endorse HB 1459 last week by a vote of 9-1, the religious right has launched a full frontal assault against the bill using the harshest of anti-gay bigoted rhetoric to oppose it. Even if HB 1459 passes the House, it faces a very uncertain fate in the Senate where it is likely to be assigned to the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville) has been an ardent opponent in the past of hate crimes legislation and gay civil rights.

Even more troubling is word that House Speaker Pat Bauer is not going to allow a hearing for Rep. Jeb Bardon's bill, HB 1716, which extends anti-discrimination and civil rights statutes to include prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Bauer angered Indiana's GLBT community after he publicly announced shortly before last year's election he would allow a vote on SJR-7 if Democrats regained controlled of the House because it wasn't worth the trouble to fight its passage. So when members of Indiana's GLBT are told by lawmakers that their actions aren't about discrimination, the facts speak otherwise. If lawmakers were serious about demonstrating some benevolence to the state's GLBT citizens, they would pass a hate crimes law and a civil rights law to protect these folks from the bigoted emotions stirred up by the passage of SJR-7.


Anonymous said...

"I will do whatever I could to make sure that problem is corrected."

Except that nothing Burton could do would matter -- because a constitutional amendment trumps a piece of legislation every time. That's the same bull that lawmakers were touting In Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And we can see where that ended up; all three states are suffering "unintended" consequences.

Matt Briddell said...

Here's a thought Danny boy- DON'T PASS the damn thing, and you won't have to DEAL with any "unintended consequences"!

Anonymous said...

Steph is right, of course.

The one thing Ms. Gingrich said yesterday which still resonates with me is:

"Their claim that they'll 'fix it' later is curious. If they want to fix something, it implies the thing they wanted to fix is broken."


Would this be the same Woody Burton, AI, that received a $500 campaign contribution from one of our lobbyists last year?

Just askin...because the longer this drags out, the more curious its participants become.

Chris Foresman said...

Is this state really run by complete assholes? Brain-drain my ass! I'm pretty sure I would call it "Sane-drain." Because I'm checking out of this hell-hole the minute I graduate from Purdue. And I'm taking my high-tech computer engineering degree with me.

Anonymous said...

Be careful where you go, Chris. 27 states have passed similar amendments, and another half-dozen are considering them.

It's what we get when an exclusionary, wedge-issue president rules. That attitude, unlike Reagonimics, is trickle-down.

Matt Briddell said...

See me taking my teaching license and following Chris out of this state when this thing passes.

Anonymous said...

Oh, well. I guess that's what happens when you put all your eggs in one cart.

The GLB community has been duped by the Democrats over and over again.

Maybe it's time for you to start doing some outreach and making friends on the other side. That will go a lot farther than calling anyone who disagrees with you a "bigot" or "hate-monger."