I've been practicing law in Indiana since 1993 and am a long-time member of the IBA. I write today to express my deep disappointment of the lack of direction and leadership the IBA has offered the Indiana General Assembly on the issue of amending our constitution. We are well into the second step in the process for the legislature to amend the Indiana Bill of Rights as proposed in SJR-7. If it is approved, it will go before our state's voters in 2008. If approved by the voters, it will represent the first time in our state's history a provision was added to our constitution's Bill of Rights which actually takes away rights from a minority group disfavored by the majority. Regardless of what one's view is on the same-sex marriage debate, the second paragraph of the proposed amendment goes well beyond the issue of same-sex marriages. Partisan attorneys representing the religious right have been misrepresenting the meaning of the plain language of this second paragraph. As members of the bar, it is incumbent upon our organization to provide sound and unbiased advice to our legislators when they are undertaking something as significant as altering the Bill of Rights in our state constitution. Yet, the IBA has sat on the sidelines and offered no leadership at all. For the IBA to disregard the rights of any class of Indiana citizens, regardless of how much that class may be disfavored by a majority of the citizens of our state, is simply unconscionable in my judgment.If I ever get a response to my e-mail, I'll let you know.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Open Letter To Indiana Bar Association On SJR-7
This is an e-mail I sent to the leadership of the Indiana Bar Association expressing my disappointment with their complete lack of leadership on SJR-7. The IBA has a poor track record on civil rights advocacy, and it's lack of participation in the debate over SJR-7 is further proof. It just seems to me that whenever the legislature decides to change the Indiana Bill of Rights, the IBA, as the leading group for attorneys and judges in Indiana, should be offering unbiased legal advice to lawmakers on the impact such an amendment will have on the citizens of the state. Here's what I wrote: