Advocates of SJR 7 fund a full-page ad in Tuesday's edition of the South Bend Tribune urging House Speaker Pat Bauer (D) to allow a House floor vote on the constitutional amendment. And if you thought that Indianapolis Star political cartoonist Gary Varvel specialized in making the Speaker look less than flattering . . . you will need to check out the picture of the Speaker that adorns the ad.
The unflattering photo the IDI mentions is likely the same photo the American Family Association uses every time it mentions Bauer's name. UPDATE: The ad itself was paid for by the American Family Association of Indiana PAC. It challenges Bauer to keep his promise to hold a hearing, allow debate and a vote to be taken on SJR-7. The ad alleges Bauer is considering an amendment to SJR-7 "that would severely weaken traditional marriage and deny the people a vote on the issue until at least 2010." It accuses him of "playing party politics" with the proposed amendment. It asks Bauer, "Are you a man of your word?" I suspect Bauer will react negatively to this dishonest attempt to put pressure on him.
Speaking of the AFA, I got a big chuckle reading this passage by Micah Clark commenting on the people who testified at last week's hearing on SJR-7:
Still, there were few legal scholars opposing the amendment, and not one who had actual experience in constitutional marriage amendment issues. It is the supporters who have numerous marriage experts, some of whom have argued these marriage protection matters before several state appellate and supreme courts. Those scholars affirm what we have been saying about the purpose and scope of SJR 7. That purpose is simply to keep a runaway judge from forcing the Indiana legislature to create civil unions or same-sex marriages as has already happened in other states. Nevertheless, this battle is becoming more about politics than the legal facts.
What Clark calls marriage experts aren't marriage experts at all. They are really just paid mouth pieces by the religious right. Even their go-to attorney, Terre Haute lawyer Jim Bopp, is no expert on marriage laws, although he has considerable constitutional law experience. Chris Stovall, the guy from the Arizona think tank who spoke at the hearing, is no expert on the issue by his own admission of his prior background and experience prior to joining the Alliance Defense Fund two years ago. And he clearly knows nothing about Indiana law based on his testimony last week. In fact, nobody the proponents have asked to testify could hold a candle to the credentials of Professor Aviva Orenstein of the IU Law School-Bloomington on the subject.
Clark's additional assertion that the amendment debate is becoming "more about politics than the legal facts" is laughable. Everyone knows the religious right sat down at the beginning of Bush's first term with his chief political operative Karl Rove and plotted out a strategy to maintain Republican control in Congress and the State Houses by pushing these discriminatory anti-gay marriage amendments state-by-state. For folks like Clark and Miller, it's always been about politics--and good business. Gay bashing has always been a successful way of raising money for their phony nonprofit organizations.