Unfortunately, due to political games played out by Democratic leadership, Hoosiers will not have the opportunity in 2008 to vote on the constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
In 2004, Speaker of the House Pat Bauer refused to allow debate and a final vote in on the marriage amendment. Due to his position on the issue, he was given the Legislator of the Year award by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.
In order for this resolution to be added to the Indiana Constitution, it must pass two separately elected General Assemblies. Once passed, the citizens of Indiana can vote on the referendum during the next general election.
In 2005, the amendment passed both the House and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
In October 2006, Bauer promised that if Democrats controlled the House in 2007, he would ensure that the issue be debated and promised a final vote on the House floor. This session, the bill was assigned to the House Legislative Rules and Procedures Committee, a committee that is designed to carry out the will of the speaker. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 5-5, with all five no's coming from Democrats. All five of these Democrats voted "yes" on the same amendment only two years ago.
Burton, of course, makes no attempt to explain the serious concerns raised by nonpartisans about the impact of the second paragraph of the amendment, which went well beyond defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Instead, he attacks Indiana businesses which dared to express their reservations about that language. Burton writes:
I find it interesting that out of the 250,000 businesses in the state, only five came forward and testified against the amendment. I also find it interesting that these five spoke upon the speaker's solicitation. What is more, there were only a few employees, mainly from human resources departments, who spoke on the matter. Using the other 27 states as examples, there is no evidence that this amendment would hurt Hoosier employers or their employees.
"No evidence that this amendment would hurt Hoosier employers or their employees?" I'll leave these words from Ronald Gifford for Burton to ponder:
Now, here's a correlation you might not have considered. Do you know how many of the 10 best-performing states in the New Economy Index have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage? Only two – Virginia and Colorado, coming in at number 8 and 9 on the charts. By contrast, 18 of the bottom 25 states in the Index have adopted marriage amendments – and Indiana was on the verge of becoming number 19 of that group.
So, for better or worse, the states without an amendment are richer and we’re poorer. Coincidence? You be the judge.