Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stop Lying About SJR-7

One of the most difficult challenges facing the opponents of SJR-7 is refuting the outright lies by its proponents that it does nothing more than reaffirm Indiana law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Sheila Kennedy reminds the Star's readers of this big lie:

It isn't just the hatefulness. It's the hypocrisy.

By now, Indiana citizens have heard all of the justifications for SJ 7, the Indiana constitutional amendment to "defend marriage" against the assault of all those gay terrorists who just want to participate in it. And we've heard all of the pious assurances that the language in "part B," (forbidding any court from interpreting any law in any way that might confer the "incidents of marriage" on unmarried couples) isn't meant to deprive gays of health benefits or hospital visitation rights. It's just an effort to "clarify" that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Really?

Then why have courts in other states, when construing similar language, all held otherwise? In the most recent ruling, just this month, a Michigan court stated: "The marriage amendment's plain language prohibits public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose." Those who were challenging that interpretation of the Michigan amendment pointed to all the statements by Michigan legislators that the language absolutely didn't mean what it obviously said, but the court dismissed that as political posturing and instead gave effect to the "plain language" of the amendment. Darn those activist judges!

If anyone harbors a lingering doubt about the real motives of the legislators who support SJ 7 and similar measures, I suggest they log on to the Web sites of the right-wing organizations supporting them. One such organization, the Alliance Defense Fund, has absolutely denied suggestions that Part B-type language in these amendments would interfere with the rights of universities and private employers to extend benefits to their employees' partners. According to the ADF Web site, "Preying on these and similar fears, advocates of same-sex 'marriage' argue that proposed state marriage amendments will undermine the ability of government and even private entities to grant benefits to unmarried people. This false argument is being used to confuse many people . . . "

And what did that same organization have to say about the Michigan ruling? Under the heading "Michigan Court Does the Right Thing," they wrote "The benefits plans violated the Michigan marriage amendment, the Court of Appeals rightly reasoned, because the government plans at issue extended health insurance benefits to the same-sex partner of an employee . . . Whether the benefit is health insurance or season tickets to the U. of Michigan men's' water polo team, governmental units in Michigan may not condition receipt of the benefit on being in a relationship that tracks with the state statutory requirements for marriage."

Let's be clear about this: The people pushing for SJ 7 want to make life as difficult as possible for Indiana's gay citizens. They know same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, and that Indiana courts have upheld the current law. There is no reason to pass this amendment except to void those few benefits that gay couples now enjoy.

They may get SJ 7 passed, but no one who believes in equal rights should let them get away with pretending that they don't mean what they say.

16 comments:

Bil Browning said...

Sheila's column is a particularly poignant one, isn't it? She first posted it (slightly changed) on bilerico.com last week. I've seen it go around various list serves too, so I'm glad she submitted it to the Star.

Don Sherfick said...

Gary, there is another area, which you've alluded to but not directly, that also exposes this "big lie". I've made reference to it in some of my posts on Bilerico.com, and I think I sent something to you outside of this site on it. It has to do with the blatant untruth that SJR7 is only aimed to reign in "unelected activist judges", but that the legislature would remain almost totally free to enact civil unions and bestow some "marriage like" rights and benefits.

But there is a little phrase in the second paragraph that contradicts this untruth. "or any other Indiana law" clearly means that judges can not only find "marriage rights" in the Indiana Constitution, but they can't even interpret statutes that our lawmakers may pass to bestow such benefits. Put aside all of the arguments concerning "different language in other states". Put aside the arguments over what "legal incidents of marriage" or "unmarried couples of groups" may or may not mean, important as that is. The insertion of "any other Indiana law" into the equation means that WHATEVER these later terms may mean, the Indiana legislature will have rendered itself impotent in this area because judges are limited in how they can construe their handiwork.

Senator Herhsman and attorney Bopp marked up the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) to make its terms locally applicable. At they time they did, however, conservative sponsors of the FMA themselves had dropped any reference to "state law", just leaving constitutions to be "construed". When they did the more radical segment, including the Concerned Women of America, tore into the change as permitting states to enact civil unions, etc. I can show you their website as well as other vehement opposition. Hershman/Bopp et al elected to keep the old language in, meaning that they consciously wanted to castrate the Indiana legislature for all time in this area. But they continue to hedge the matter and say the legislature remains fully potent. Bullshit! They need to be confronted by the press, other legislators, and the public over this shameless duplicity.

Wilson46201 said...

Oddly enough IndyErnie, hailstone, Jocelyn and so many other anonymous nobodies have gone strangely silent on this issue. Dont they want to expose how hateful they can get when it comes to dealing with LGBT folk?

So many of the nutterballs that love to harangue endlessly about peashakes and the Ghetto Mafia are monstrously homophobic too.

Don Sherfick said...

Ooops, one little correction to my post above: the first sentence of the second paragraph should read "...clearly means that judges can not only NOT find...." Hope the double negative isn't confusing here.

Advance Indiana said...

Bopp, Miller, Hershman and the whole lot of hypocrites are lying and know they are lying on the meaning of paragraph b. Not too long ago, the missives Advance America and the AFA put out readily acknowledged the amendment did more than ban gay marriage--always making referencing to the fact it also banned civil unions. As soon as the heat got turned up on the meaning of paragraph b, they did an about face and says it does nothing of the sort, even claiming it only applies to judges. Assuming for the sake of argument it only applied to judicial interpretations, it would still have the same effect because any law passed by the legislature could not be interpreted by the court to do what the law said it was supposed to do because of the constitutional limitation. These folks are dirty to the core. Note how quickly Bopp was able to forgive Mitt Romney for his past support of GLBT rights. To get elected in Massachusetts, Romney fully endorsed gay rights, including the right to marry. As soon as he got elected and the gay marriage ruling came down in his own state, he did an about face on the marriage issue. He has now repudiated every pro-gay right position he had taken in the past in order to assuage the Christian right. Bopp has no problem with it because he believes the ends justifies the means. Romney had to lie to get elected governor so he would have a shot at being president. That makes it all okay.

Don Sherfick said...

Yep, "flip-flop Bopp" and his clients. Unfortunately because this issue requires an attention span of more than a 15-second sound bite, the average Joe and Jane Legislator as well as many of their constituents see "legalese" coming and don't lightly grasp why were are calling a lie and lie. Let's all keep hammering away on this. The more lights come on the sooner our opponents will be truly exposed for what they are doing.

Sir Hailstone said...

So many of the nutterballs that love to harangue endlessly about peashakes and the Ghetto Mafia are monstrously homophobic too.

That, Wilson, is where you are wrong. I've met Chris Douglas and he's a decent fellow. I don't agree with 100% of his viewpoints but Big Tent and all. I've yet to meet Gary Welsh though and I work with homosexuals. I don't have a problem with homosexuals. Just people who slap the homophobe tag onto anyone whom the person disagrees with. Namely yourself Wilson.

Wilson46201 said...

hailstone, on another blog you seemed to be satisfied with passing SJR7 - do you approve of it or not? Simple question! How about that H.R.O. recently passed in Indpls: a good or bad thing?

by the way, "homosexuals" is kinda old-fashioned and off-putting - almost like using "Negro" nowadays...

Jeff Newman said...

Gary, your 12:02 comment points out something interesting.

I had noticed previously that whenever Eric Miller would talk or write about the marriage amendment he would add "and civil unions." He never missed. Never.

What I failed to notice (and I'm not sure when this happened) is that he stopped. You don't hear him or the others on the right say it.

Does this mean they've changed their minds on civil unions? HELL NO, of course not. They just know that they are losing support on this one (what little they had in the first place), so they just stop mentioning it, and inteatd lie through their teeth trying to minimize the impact of the amendment.

It's really frustrating; no matter how many ways we point out the disengenuity and outright lies of the proponents of this thing, it's as though we're standing in a circle telling each other what we already know.

Where is the business community? Where are the universities who are going to lose the ability to offer DP benefits? Where is Cummins and Lilly and all of those other people who are going to be under attack for their employment policies?

Where are the businesses and people who are worried about economic and cultural impact (and "brain drain")?

Where are the unmarried straight people who are going to be affected?

Don't blame the GLBT community for not doing enough if this thing goes through. We can't do it alone.

anonymous III said...

Jeff, I share your frustration. At the Senate Judiciary Commmittee "Eric Miller Time" was short and sweet, seeming not to really want to be there at all. And Herhsman and/or Bopp insulted our intelligence by saying they couldn't comment on SJR-7's impact on civil unions because Indiana didn't have any such thing, thank you, and until they saw specific language, they didn't know what such a creature is/was/might be. NUVO, Indystar, other Indiana newspapers, where are your reporters to ask all these folks the tough questions?

Anonymous said...

anonymous ii, if you're waiting on any Indiana media to more closely define this debate, you're pissing up a rope.

They're lazy, incompetent and misguided. A few bright stars get overshadowed in the nonsense put out by mainstream media in this town--print and electronic.

As an example, I drove from my downtown office today and heard Amos Brown counsel callers about multiple topics, including juvenile court matters. He was, again, blatantly wrong...this man is guilty of radio malpractice, but nobody calls him on it. Arrogant, lazy and never late to the "racist" name-calling party.

And he's relatively typical on the sweat equity portion of local journalism.

Seek out all sources of information you can get. It's worth it.

Oh yeah, thanks to the local media, I know it's freaking snowing outside. And I learned almost nothing else from them today.

Priorities, work ethic, et al. Absent.

Sheila's column is spot-on. I hope it makes the rounds.

Maybe IE should reprint it and put it on every House member's chair.

But, that would make sense.

GaryJ said...

Wilson, since you and I disagree on many things, are you lumping me into the homophobic catagory as well? We have had the disagreement over this issue on TDW in the past. Let me re iterate..
I don't care what people do in the privacy of their own homes. Thats their business. Man/Man, woman/woman, or man/ woman. They all need to keep their sexuality in private. it's NOBODYS business but their own.
Whats the purpose of the marriage thing? So that the "other" can get the benifits? Let the insurance companies decide that one! Not the government. If you want your partner to get all your stuff when you die, make a will. you can leave it all to whomever you wish.

I have never heard Sir Hailstone or IndyErnie say anything negative about homosexuals. Just because you disagree with their political views, doesn't make them a homophobe!

As a single man, I used to appreciate homosexual males. It lessened the competition for me when chasing after women.
(glad I finally caught one!)

What taer do you prefer? Homosexual? fag? gay? lesbian? queer? Please educate me so i don't offend any of the above!
No offense intended!

Wilson46201 said...

So GaryJ, since this thread is about SJR-7 :: how do you feel about THAT? Do you support that Human Rights Ordinance passed recently in Indianapolis that left Jocelyn Tandy sputtering about "Sodom and Gomorrah" afterwards?

"Gay" is the modern term to use. Your list of suggested terms was hardly serious...

Sir Hailstone said...

hailstone, on another blog you seemed to be satisfied with passing SJR7 - do you approve of it or not? Simple question!

Simple - I say pass it and LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE Once and for all. Yes I've had this discussion with Chris Douglas over on Frugal Hoosiers. I think he doesn't give rural people enough credit for being open minded. I've lived in rural communities before. They are not as closed minded as one who has lived in Marion County all their life would believe.

As far as HRO goes it is passed, so let it go. Was there THAT much discrimination? Was there a significant amount of outright hatred? Other than Julia Carson's grandson that tortured the gay man not much I recall. I don't brag about my love life at work or anywhere else so what's the difference in that and a gay person? There is many, many, many other issues the local government needed to use its time to find solutions. Public safety, taxes, the pensions, etc.

HRO, UniGov, police consolidation. Its all passed, let it go and lets move forward. There is no useful purpose trying to live in the past.

Anonymous said...

Hailstone just doesn't get it. In Indiana -- not the few enclaves of protection like Indy and Bloomington-- you can get fired, tossed out of your housing or denied basic accommodations based on your sexual orientation-- or PERCEIVED sexual orientation and you have NO recourse.

The stress of living with that is immeasurable.

And methinks, Hailstone would have preferred that Indy remain one of those places. But he knows better than to state that publicly.

Gays and Lesbians don't want the right to "talk about their personal lives at work". They want to know they won't be fired if someone even gets a hint that they might BE gay or lesbian. It's a constant fear for those who have to live in those situations.

And those of us who are out-- fear for our kids and the next generation who come behind us.

By the way, next time let the public vote on YOUR civil rights. See what a great chance freedom of speech, 2nd amendment or even religion get, if you're not part of the majority

GaryJ said...

Wilson, I don't really care one way or the other. It doesn't phase me one way or another. Some things should be put to a vote by THE PEOPLE, not the politician$ who $ay they repre$ent the people, and then do what their influence$ tell them to do!
I'm open minded enough to accept gays as people for who they are. Just because i disagree with the lifestyle, who am I to judge?