Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unbelievable: Indiana Legislative Leaders To Continue Fight Against Gay Marriage

House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long may both be attorneys by profession, but they left their ability to interpret constitutional law, at least as it respects the rights of gays, somewhere in their dark, distant past. Despite today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and knocking down with it the wall of protection afforded only to same-sex couples by more than one thousand federal laws, Bosma and Long have declared that the fight against the recognition of rights for same-sex couples in Indiana must go on. From the Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly:
"With today's decision, I am confident the matter will come before the General Assembly and ultimately be placed on a referenda ballot for voter consideration," said GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma. "As they have in 30 other states, Hoosiers should have the right to speak on this issue." . . .
Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said he will ask the Senate's legal staff, as well as other legal experts, to conduct a thorough analysis of the case with a goal of providing guidance for the General Assembly as we contemplate a constitutional amendment on the definition of marriage in 2014.
"That being said, I fully anticipate that both the Senate and House will be voting on a marriage amendment next session," he said.
The proposed amendment reads, "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."
The second sentence would ban future legislators from enacting civil unions in the future, and might affect a host of other laws . . .
Public sentiment has shifted dramatically since Republicans started the process – then claiming it was the most critical issue on the table.
Indiana Equality Action President Chris Paulsen said he hopes lawmakers will forsake the effort.
"It runs counter to our core Hoosier values and creates a host of unintended legal consequences," he said. "Whatever the General Assembly decides, we will be prepared either to support their decision to abandon (House Joint Resolution 6) or to fight the amendment in every community across our state. Hoosiers value kindness and love, and we all deserve to live in a state that doesn't write inequality into its Constitution."
Now that same-sex married couples in Indiana will enjoy the same rights under federal law as all opposite-sex couples presently enjoy, any continued move by Indiana lawmakers to throw up roadblocks to rights afforded under state law to same-sex couples are totally misdirected and self-defeating. In a manner of speaking, we're biting off our nose to spite our face. Here's a question for Bosma and Long. Since Indiana's same-sex married couples will now be able to file joint income tax returns for federal tax purposes, how are they going to file their tax returns for state purposes since the state income tax piggybacks on the federal income tax?

This AP story throws up the conundrum that will be faced by states which choose to continue discriminating against same-sex couples after today's ruling:
The outcome is clear for people who were married and live in states that allow same-sex marriage. They now are eligible for federal benefits.
The picture is more complicated for same-sex couples who traveled to another state to get married, or who have moved from a gay marriage state since being wed.
Their eligibility depends on the benefits they are seeking. For instance, immigration law focuses on where people were married, not where they live. But eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits basically depends on where a couple is living when a spouse dies.
I don't believe the IRS will allow same-sex couples in states that recognize same-sex marriages to be treated differently under federal law than same-sex couples who were legally married in a state that allows same-sex marriages but resides in a state that bars their recognition. That in itself will open up the floodgates for equal protection claims. I'm betting the Obama administration already has drafted up new regulations just waiting to be rolled out on this subject interpreting a whole host of federal laws.

UPDATE: Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had this to say in the amicus brief his office filed with the Supreme Court defending the federal DOMA statute before today's ruling:
In his brief filed before the Supreme Court's oral argument on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Zoeller argued that state bans on gay marriage would be jeopardized if the court strikes down DOMA.
"It requires no great leap of logic to conclude that a judicial rejection of DOMA would erode constitutional support for similar state laws," Zoeller wrote in the brief.
Zoeller explained in a release issued to the media this afternoon: "He had been 'duty bound to defend the authority of our state legislature and their decisions.'"


dp said...

"Now that same-sex married couples in Indiana will enjoy the same rights under federal law as all opposite-sex couples presently enjoy, any continued move by Indiana lawmakers to throw up roadblocks to rights afforded under state law to same-sex couples are totally misdirected and self-defeating."

Mike, I'm confused by that statement. Today's decision by the Supreme Court only provides federal benefits to married same-sex couples in states who legally recognize same-sex marriage. Indiana does not.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It's Gary.

That's the Court's direct holding in this case, but if you read the language contained in the decision, it is inconceivable the majority would conclude any differently on the broader questions. Justice Scalia's dissent laments that the decision sets up the day in the near future for the other shoe to drop in that respect.

My point is that you cannot avoid equal protection problems if you say that citizens in one state get benefits under federal law that citizens in other states don't get because of how the state law interprets marriage--a definition this majority holds cannot withstand 5th Amendment scrutiny. Why would anyone believe this majority would uphold a state law that would deny benefits under federal law in the same manner as the federal DOMA it struck down today does? Justice Scalia tells us what that answer will be--the other shoe will drop.

Flogger said...

I just have to wonder how Legal Civil Unions in Indiana would take bread out of the mouths of Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long???

dp said...

Then what impact will a marriage amendment to indiana's constitution have with the death of doma?

Cato said...

Gay marriage need to be opposed vigorously, because it's not about "marriage," but about greater than full legitimacy, acceptance, indoctrination.

Once they have equal status, they'll claim historic discrimination and demand better than equal status to remedy prior wrongs. Schools will have homosexual education, and textbooks will be required to present homosexual couples with regular frequency. Media, advertising, television, etc. will have to depict homosexual couples and relationship in proportion (or far greater) to their population.

They'll work their way around to imposing homosexual compliance certifications, akin to "No animals were harmed in the making of this film..." The EEOC component of job applications will contain a "homosexual" identifier, standing equally alongside other minorities.

Given that many of them hail from the sophist class, they're well adept at using the legislature of liars: the courts, to enact their social agenda.

So many of them are social termites, and we need to keep that frontier well in the distance. Full support to Pence or anyone else that continues to make a stand to protect this country from their agenda.