Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Amendment To Save Marriage As We Know It: It's Back

Will We See A Real Debate This Time, Or Just More Grand-Standing From The Religious Right?
Just as sure as the sun rises each day in the east the Christian soldiers of the legislature are back with their answer to all that ills the sacred institution of marriage--a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages or anything else they see as an affront to marriage as defined by their personal religious convictions. SJR-7, approved by the last General Assembly and now before the current General Assembly adds these two simple, but far reaching paragraphs to the Indiana Constitution:

Marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman.

This Constitution or any other Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Overwhelmingly approved by both chambers two year ago, SJR-7 begins the session with more than one-fifth of the Senate signed on as sponsors. In addition to the principal author, Sen. Brandt Hershman (R), ten other Republican senators, including Vic Heinold, Richard Bray, Robert Jackman, Dennis Kruse, Gary Dillon, Mike Young, Mike Delph, Tom Weatherwax, Marvin Riegsecker and Jeff Drozda have all signed on as sponsors. If it repeats its success this year, SJR-7 will go before voters in the 2008 general election.

Because I know a number of legislators regularly read this blog, I would like to endulge the legislators to spend more time reflecting on what exactly they seek to accomplish by the enactment of this constitutional amendment that it hasn't already accomplished statutorily. Is SJR-7 the appropriate remedy to cure what some religious zealots view as a threat to the institution of marriage? A constitutional amendment is more permanent than a legislative enactment which can be easily repealed in a single session of the legislature. If it makes a mistake with a constitutional amendment, it takes at least another four years to right the wrong. For this reason alone, legislators should take extra care with its power to amend our constitution.

The father of our own U.S. Constitution, James Madison, thought the document important enough that it should be difficult to amend: proposal by two thirds of both Houses or two thirds of the state legislatures, followed by ratification of three-fourths of the states. Madison believed there should be a strong presumption against any constitutional amendment. When they are adopted, they should remedy serious structural defects in the document or attempt to include groups previously excluded from the political process. While other founding fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, thought the Constitution should be rewritten frequently, Madison's thinking has become the norm under which we've operated for more than 200 years. Only 27 amendments have been added in the history of the Constitution, with just one mistake. The 18th Amendment, which imposed the prohibition on alcoholic beverages, was repealed by the 21st Amendment just 14 years after its original adoption.

The first ten amendments, what we know as the Bill of Rights, secured to the people those rights the founders viewed as so fundamental that the ratification of the Constitution by the states rested upon their inclusion. With the exception of the prohibition amendment, the amendments all stuck to Madison's principles. They either corrected a structural defect, such as 25th Amendment concerning presidential succession, or they included groups previously excluded, such as the amendments extending full citizenship rights to African-Americans and voting rights for women and younger voters.

The process for amending the Indiana Constitution is not near as cumbersome as the federal constitution, but just enough to curtail the number of times it's been amended. As the Centennial History of the General Assembly described one earlier era:

Although the General Asssembly wrestled with the archaic provisions of the 1851 Constitution at every session, the years from 1890 to 1930 marked an era of constitutional impasse for the state of Indiana. The legislature considered essential amendments each biennium, usually for naught because of the cumbersome process of amendment spelled out in the document. Amendments had to pass two consecutive sessions and then be approved by the people. Frequently, what one session passed the next disallowed or changed. On those occasions where consecutive general assemblies concurred in amendments, it was then up to the people to accept or reject the changes by majority vote. In almost every instance, more voters approved than rejected the proposed amendments. But the state Supreme Court held, in a series of rulings, that amendments were not adopted unless the ayes constituted a majority of all votes cast in a particular election. Proposed amendments almost always received substantially fewer affirmative votes than candidates running for elective statewide office. According to the court, this meant the amendments were neither approved nor rejected, but still pending.
In the last century, the state Supreme Court reinterpreted the amendatory process to provide for adoption of amendments by a majority vote of those voting on the question rather than those participating in the election. That made it easier to adopt amendments, but the frequency of state constitutional amendments has generally been no greater than that for federal amendments over the past century. The amendment process has been used primarily to correct perceived structural defects in the 1851 Constitution and occasionally to confer rights to a group of citizens. The amendatory process, without exception, has not been used to take away from, or deprive any group of citizens of rights they might otherwise be afforded under the document.

So taken against that historical background, how does SJR-7 measure up? SJR-7 cannot be described as correcting any structural defect in the constitution. Proponents say its adoption is necessary to preserve the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, who, unlike same-sex couples, are capable of procreation. This national debate began in earnest when Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled that denying gay marriages in 1993 was unconstitutional. That sparked many states to adopt so-called Defense of Marriage Acts, which specifically defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The U.S. Congress enacted a federal Defense of Marriage Law in 1996, which provided that no state would be required to give effect to the law of any other state recognizing same-sex marriage. Once Hawaii's courts, and later Massachusetts', ruled in favor of gay marriages, this inspired proponents of gay marriage bans to push even further with state constitutional bans. Hawaii enacted a constitutional ban in 1998, overturning its high court's ruling. More than half of the states now have constitutional bans, in addition to statutory bans.

Indiana has had its own Defense of Marriage Act for more than a decade. Further, the Indiana Court of Appeals as recently as a couple of years ago ruled that marriage is not a fundamental right under Indiana's Constitution, and that Indiana's DOMA law does not deprive same-sex couples of any right to equal protection under the law in so far as they are not allowed to legally marry. And since the federal DOMA says Indiana does not have to recognize gay marriages recognized by other states, such as Massachusetts, no gay marriage can be legally recognized in the state of Indiana. So if there is no perceived structural defect to be remedied, and there is no new rights being conferred by the amendment, what purpose does SJR-7 advance other than to maintain the status quo? Or does it do more than maintain the status quo?

Proponents of SJR-7 prefer to limit debate to its first paragraph, but the reach of its second paragraph should give many of us pause. It goes beyond defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman by depriving marital status or the legal incidents of marriage to any unmarried couples or groups. This deprivation applies to unmarried straight and gay couples alike. It closes the door to the legal recognitition of civil unions in lieu of marriages in Indiana. It also prevents the government from extending any benefits to unmarried couples. For example, domestic partner benefits offered by IU or Purdue to its employees would become unconstitutional. There's no mistaking the fact SJR-7 does something no other amendment to the Indiana Constitution has accomplished: it diminishes rights. It does this by depriving unmarried couples of any rights enjoyed by married, opposite-sex couples.

The real purpose behind amendments and laws like SJR-7 is to write contemporary religious interpretation of what constitutes a marriage into law. I use the word "contemporary" because we can find many examples of the practice of polygamy in the Bible, which fundamentalist theologians choose to ignore. Limiting marriage to one man and one woman is not the end of the matter for these folks. Their ultimate objective is to overturn our current no-fault divorce laws and replace them with so-called covenant marriages, which are legally much more difficult to dissolve.

This amendment is in the same tradition of failed laws and state constitutional amendments from the last century which banned interracial marriages in most states, including Indiana. The so-called anti-miscegenation laws were enacted at the behest of Christian fundamentalists who insisted upon the separation of the races. Eventually, the Supreme Court overturned those laws in 1967 as a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Hypocritically, many of the leading advocates of gay marriage bans, such as Advance America's Eric Miller, are themselves divorcees. While proponents insist the bans are necessary to promote procreation within traditional marriages, there is no evidence such bans fulfill their intended purpose. Despite the passage of laws in most states banning gay marriages, the undisputed evidence is that more and more opposite-sex couples are procreating outside of marriage. And the undisputed evidence shows that the prohibition on gay marriages is not slowing the number of opposite-sex couples who choose to end their marriages through divorce.

The legislature should concern itself with the proper role of government in regulating relationships between consenting adults. The real subject of state regulation should be the civil union or contract between consenting adults, gay or straight, without reference to religious doctrine. Each religion should be free to recognize marriages in accordance with its own doctrine, but specific religions should not be permitted under our constitutional system to impose their matrimonial doctrine on the rest of us. And that's what is really behind the agenda of those proposing SJR-7.

I think any legislator planning to vote for SJR-7 should consider the constitutional analysis I've proffered here. Our legislators need to explain to us just why it's so hell fire important that we adopt this amendment, and that we adopt it now. House Speaker Pat Bauer's statement prior to the recent election that it wasn't worth the fight to block the amendment's passage as he did during the Democrat's prior reign in the House simply won't cut it. Any time the legislature exercises its constitutional powers to take away rights from any group of citizens it owes us all a thorough deliberation of the subject matter and rationale for the proposed action. This didn't happen two years ago, and I fear it won't happen again.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, but Baehr v. Miike is 1996, not 1986. I assume that's what you mean by "nearly 20 years ago," which should probably be "nearly 10 years ago." Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame they think this is required.

Our hope is in the House. But the Speaker got a pass from our community last fall, when he indicated he'd let this come down for a vote.

Gary R. Welsh said...

George, The fight in Hawaii began in 1990 when gay couples applied for marriage licenses. It culminated with a decision by the state's Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marrriages in 1993. The voters approved a constitutional amendment overturning the court ruling in 1998.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiments. I don't believe that we should be writing matters that are more properly legislative into the constitution. And just to put my own position on the table, I support civil unions but not full marriage for gays. Actually, I'd like to see "marriage" move in a more contractual manner from a legal perspective with "marriage" being primarily a purely religious matter. So in that regard I may even be more radical than you.

But a few points to ponder:

1. As you note, it was the courts that brought this to the fore. If Hawaii, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey had not ruled as they did - effectively using the constitution to equally define marriage as is more properly the role of a statue - I don't believe any such amendments would ever have been passed. I think it is also clear that absent the amendment backlash, other courts - almost certainly New York and Washington - would have ruled in favor of gay marriage as a fundamental right leading to a potential snowball effect.

2. Tactically, the federal DOMA has never been tested in the Supreme Court, so relying on that is dubious. If anything, the US Supreme Court has proven very willing to write social policy into the constitution through its ruling. I would not be surprised for a minute if they just wiped away all these state amendments with a pro-gay marriage federal ruling. That's one reason for all these amendments. Getting a clear and increasing majority of states to constitutionally ban gay marriage makes it difficult for the SCOTUS to justify its rationale with talk of an "emerging national consensus" about gay marriage as they've done for other items.

3. The argument you are making is a bit disingenuous. From your previous posts I would presume that you are a supporter of gay marriage (feel free to correct me). Thus appealing to notions that there is no real threat to the present definition of marriage is really not an argument you believe in yourself. You, and those who feel like you, represent a very real threat to traditional marriage.

What's more, by talking about the amendment as "depriving rights", you make your position clear: gay marriage is a right and denying it is discriminatory. If that's true, why wouldn't the courts rule that the state had to permit it? How can something both be a "right" and not available under present law?

The blame for the current situation lies squarely on the part of gays rights activits and their over-reach in attempting to get the courts to impose their policy. The country had been trending in a more accepting direction towards gays for a long time. I believe we were only a decade or so away from civil unions being very common and then it would have only been a matter of time until actual marriage followed. Maybe even less given what has happened so quickly in even conservative European countries. Gay rights activists have set their own cause back by at least a generation, barring a federal court ruling blowing these amendments away.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon 11:20 said, "What's more, by talking about the amendment as "depriving rights", you make your position clear: gay marriage is a right and denying it is discriminatory."

I don't think you've read SJR-7. If you had, you would understand it does more than deny gay marriage. It deprives any rights similar to those enjoyed by married couples to any unmarried couples or groups, straight or gay.

You said, "If Hawaii, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey had not ruled as they did - effectively using the constitution to equally define marriage as is more properly the role of a statue - I don't believe any such amendments would ever have been passed." And perhaps if the Supreme Court hadn't ruled as it did in Brown v. Board of Education we would have never had the Civil Rights Act of 1964. What's your point? Courts, by design, serve as a check on the political branches of government, which have had a history of using laws to discriminate against oppressed minorities.

I have said before and I'll say it again. I don't think gay marriage is the answer. I believe the government should be neutral and let each religion decide what constitutes a marriage. It's the civil contract with which government should concern itself. Legally recognized civil unions between straight and gay couples is what I prefer.

Anonymous said...

Your postings on the various issues surrounding SJR7 are very interesting and appropriate at this time. Unfortunately the average legislator generally focuses on things that can fit in short attention spans and 30 second sound bites, and isn't a lawyer. Much easier for the amendment's supporters to sloganize than it is for opponents to show the defects and unintended consequences of the second paragraph.

One thing you and apparently most legislators and folks seemed to have missed: The current wording was adopted, and very closely parallels that of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which Congress has rejected so far. After some internal conservative discussion, that proposal was altered materially in the summer of 2004. It took out references to state law, because the original version would have kept state legislatures from giving even a handfull of marital-type benefits to those not married, gay or straight, in intamate relationships or not. It also removed the term "unmarried couples or groups", replacing it with a term "aunion other than a union of one woman". The dangers of the broad "unmarried couples" term were well recognized, even by the national sponsors.

Yet, and this is VERY important: Despite these changes the Indiana sponsors chose NOT to incorporat them in SJR7. Also, supporters continue to claim that the measure does not restrict the legislature, only "unelected activist judges", despite the fact that the Concerned Women of America, hardly a friend of civil unions, has stated on its website that the national change was intended to restore state legislative power. And nobody can explain why "unmarried couples or groups" remains.

Your readers and the media would do well to ask tough questions as to why the sponsors have not been forthcoming with this information. Did they know before they introduced and passed SJR7 in 2005 or were they also blindsided and hence now embarrassed? Maybe they choose not to say because they want the language unchanged, despite its ackowledged defects, before the Republican party base in November 2008. Much explaining to do, it would seem.

Gary R. Welsh said...

As I recall, Sen. Hershman was specifically asked during the debate on SJR-7 what the meaning of the second paragraph was. He didn't have a clue, and the senators who supported it didn't give a damn. The founding fathers never contemplated people elected to a legislative body would take on the task of amending a constitution so cavalierly. I'm sorry to say it, but the reality is that the quality of people getting elected to the legislature and Congress continues to decline. Increasingly, we are seeing more and more professional hacks elected. Their sole objective is self-preservation. It is particularly disgraceful that Sen. Richard Bray, an attorney who chairs the Judiciary Committee, doesn't give a damn about these concerns, put his name on SJR-7 and voted for it two years ago.

Anonymous said...

You are sadly correct in your observations concerning the quality of many of our legislators. I would only encourage you, through this site and otherwise, to do as much as possible to attempt to bring this duplicity to the attention of the media, public, and legislators. "Read the Fine Print" is the slogan of some of the amendment's opponents. Regardless of how one may feel about the merits of same sex marriage/civil unions, one ought not to bulldoze a house to fix a perceived leak in the plumbing. Last time I looked, despite the "sky-is-falling" God-invoking utterances of the Religious Right on this matter, "The End Never Justifies The Means" remains a solid Christian principle. No exceptions for Christ-professing legislators.

Anonymous said...

Hi AI,

I'll post something longer in response to most of the substance of this thread in a bit, but for now your either your history or your legal analyses are mistaken. In 1993 the Hawaii Supreme Court held in Baehr v. Lewin not that people of the same sex had a right to marriage licenses, but that the state had the burden "to overcome the presumption that HRS § 572-1 is unconstitutional by demonstrating that it furthers compelling state interests and is narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgments of constitutional rights." The court then remanded the case back to the trial court to hear arguments on the compelling state interests. No marriage licenses were issued.

Lewin certainly caught headlines, but the push to pass a Federal DOMA came in anticipation of Baehr v. Miike in 1996 (which had already been argued at the time) which would uphold the trial court's finding that no compelling state interests could be identified. I only know of two states that had laws addressing gay-marriage explicitly prior to 1996, and neither was enacted in response to Baehr v. Lewin.

Gary R. Welsh said...

George, Stop trying to split hairs. Hawaii kicked the whole debate off. Your arguing with me about whether it was a 1993 decision or an anticipated 1996 decision is irrelevant to the point of my post. Nowhere in my post did I say Hawaii started issuing marriage licenses. While your interest is appreciated, your comments are adding nothing to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

1.) I'm sorry you think I'm splitting hairs, but I place a high premium on historical accuracy and semantic precision. Your claim was neither historically accurate nor semantically precise. I will reply to your claim as long as you defend it. If that's not the conversation you wanted to have, tough. The easier thing for you to do would be for you to simply say, “Oh right. My mistake. I meant 10 years ago.”

But since you apparently want more “substantive” feedback, I'll oblige:

2.) Most of what Anon 11:20 is really smart, because it manages to approach this issue from a legal-strategic perspective. It's easy to dismiss state Amendments as simply homophobic, but that often misses the important strategic considerations that are devoted to these pushes and their implications for the larger structure of American democracy. Indeed, many of the mini-DOMAs are obviously homophobic (I would argue they are definitionally homophobic) but that's probably the least interesting and most obvious thing about them.

(Important caveat: I am not a lawyer or a law student, so my understanding of the case law here may be profoundly mistaken. If a real lawyer with expertise on interstate licensing caselaw would be attentive to and correct any forthcoming errors, it would be greatly appreciated.)

I think Anon 11:20 misses the most interesting legal-strategic consideration here, something that is virtually never talked about in the popular press. It's often assumed that if the federal DOMA was declared unconstitutional, states like Nebraska and Colorado would be forced to accept gay-marriage licenses from Massachusetts.

This is not necessarily the case. If the Supreme Court held DOMA unconstitutional on 14th amendment grounds then Nebraska would certainly have to accept Massachusetts gay marriage licenses, but the language and arguments of Justice Kennedy in Lawrence and Roemer, as well as the current composition of the court, suggests that is extremely unlikely. In addition, as 11:20 suggests, gay-marriage opponents have effectively used state-level contests to preempt an emerging national consensus argument.

The far more likely scenario and the easy out for SCOTUS on this issue would be to hold DOMA unconstitutional on “effects clause” grounds (Most people assume the challenge to DOMA would be an issue of full faith and credit, but it's actually the following clause which addresses the ability of congress to regulate full faith and credit, the “effects clause.”) More or less, SCOTUS could simply say that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to regulate full faith and credit in the fashion of DOMA. Under such a scenario, however, gay marriage itself would not be a constitutional right. Nebraska would not be forced to issue gay marriage licenses.

The real issue is whether Nebraska would be forced to accept out-of-state gay marriage licenses. It turns out that is actually a very complex legal issue determined by fairly arcane case-law mostly concerned with interstate trucking. The relevant case-law, as it's currently understood, that a forum state may deny full faith and credit to an statutorily created out-of-state license (forum states must almost always give full-faith and credit to out-of-state court judgments), if the forum state has established a “strong public policy” in conflict with the license. “Strong public policies” are essentially interpretations of the full body of state law and, therefore, since state courts are dispositive on issues of state law, not usually subject to Federal review. Or, put another way, correct readings of current case-law surrounding full faith and credit suggest that state courts will still have ultimate power to decide whether to accept out-of-state gay marriage licenses.

Now, obviously, some state supreme courts, even in extremely conservative states, will be sympathetic to arguments advanced by gay-marriage proponents—at least relative to the general populace. In those states, mini-DOMAs, especially of the constitutional amendment kind, effectively tie the hands of state courts. If anything can undeniably demonstrate a “strong public policy” it is a constitutional amendment directed specifically at the issue in question. In essence, then, mini-DOMAs act as firewalls should the Federal DOMA (a law of dubious constitutionality in the first place) be held unconstitutional.

In a federal system where powers are divided laterally and horizontally, it shouldn't come as much surprise that, when one “faction”—to appeal to AI's Madisonian impulses—successfully mobilizes one branch at one level where it has the most influence, an opposing “faction” will mobilize other branches at other levels and certainly in those branches and at those levels where it is most powerful. That's all part of the way the system is supposed to function. I dislike the idea that one branch or one level is a more pure embodiment of deliberative democracy. Gay-marriage opponents do this when they vilify courts and gay-marriage proponents do this when they deify courts as the only honest protectors of civil rights. More than anything, I dislike procedural arguments that somehow imply that one “faction” is anti-democratic because it exercises its right to propose and enact laws through the normal democratic means. State constitutional amendments are the price the gay rights movement must pay for pursuing its agenda through the courts.

Indeed, the unwillingness of gay-marriage proponents to engage the argument on the substantive level (AIs post is a classic example of this), while depending on procedural manipulations and legalistic justifications for their position, is precisely the problem and one of the reasons why gay-marriage proponents are, ultimately, so court bound. Rather than choosing to persuade average people that they should be allowed to marry, gay marriage advocates try to argue that the law already protects their right to marry, but that the courts have not yet “discovered” it. To most people, though not to courts, this is a profoundly counter-intuitive argument: if the law already protects their right to marriage, why is it against the law? How can something that was obviously illegal become legal without someone changing the “text” of the law? Lawyers are used to thinking about the law in non-text based senses (The law is how legal agents interpret and enforce texts, not the texts themselves), but that is simply not how most people see the law. As a result, there is a profound schizophrenia to pro-marriage arguments as proponents simultaneously maintain two contradictory positions: legally gay marriage is protected by the constitution if correctly interpreted; popularly people should change the law to support gay marriage. Since gay marriage activists privilege the former in their practical strategies, it's easy to understand why many people feel the justifications for gay marriage presented popularly are downright disingenuous.

From my perspective, the amendment is substantively abominable. But nothing about the act of proposing the amendment strikes me as contrary to how democracy ought and does work.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Excuse me George, but there is nothing historically inaccurate about my post. What is your problem? Perhaps the most telling thing you say in your comment "I am not a lawyer". To put it into historical perspective since you are determined to mislead otherwise, from the Asian American Journalistic Association reporting on the nearly 20 year debate:

"Nearly 20 years ago, Hawaii helped ignite the gay marriage debate. Since then, some sentiments, like Hartman’s, have changed dramatically. But the fight to give gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples continues to rage on, drawing strong feelings from all sides.

The gay marriage movement was jump-started in December 1990, when three gay couples applied for marriage licenses in Hawaii. The action was not unprecedented, but the outcome was.

In the past, previous same-sex couples had been either denied their request for a marriage license or forced to settle for “domestic partnership” registration. But the Hawaii Six, as the group is called, after being denied the right to marry, launched a gay rights revolution when they took their request to court.

William Woods, who is often referred to as the father of Hawaiian gay rights, heard about the three couples and decided to hire an attorney to represent them. Since then, the lawsuit has become a precedent in more than 100 countries, Woods said.

“It was a big enterprise,” Woods said. “I knew it was going to take a long time to get married. I didn’t see gay marriage for me (back then), but I wanted to help other couples do it.”

Hawaii became a petri dish for one of the most acerbic issues to hit the country, setting an example for many other states.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that denying marital status to gay couples was unconstitutional.

But five years later, voters overturned the decision, passing a constitutional amendment to forbid gay marriage."

And see this:

In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the state's marriage policy violated the state Constitution's prohibition against sex-based discrimination, and ordered a trial for the Health Department to produce a compelling state interest in limiting marriage licenses only to mixed-sex couples. Noting the state's failure to show a single good reason for discriminating, the Court ruled in 1996 that it was unconstitutional for the Health Department to continue denying the freedom to marry to lesbian and gay couples. The judge, however, also stayed his decision to allow the state to appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court. In 1998, anti-gay groups succeeded in passing a state constitutional amendment to grant the legislature a new power to "reserve marriage" to different-sex couples only. On December 9, 1999, the Hawaii Supreme Court decided that the case is now "moot" because of last year's change in the state constitution. The Court held that the 1998 constitutional amendment "[took] the statute out of the ambit of the equal protection clause of the Hawaii Constitution" at least as regards marriage licenses.

There is nothing in my post arguing that gay marriage is legal under existing law. You still don't get the second paragraph of SJR-7, which was an essential purpose of this amendment, but I'm not going to waste any more of my time on your pointless comments.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, AI. It's too bad you are not a member of the legislature making these arguments. It's so frustrating that even the handful of legislators who are on our side can't articulate the argument the way you do.

Anonymous said...

Keep turning up the heat on this issue, Gary.

Mitch and the legislature need to be prepared for a tidal wave of brain-drain if this bill passes. Scott and I are increasingly worried about the quality of life in this state, and passage of this bill will further push Indiana into backwardness. I fear for the future of this state, and this country, when it starts writing discrimination into law.

Anonymous said...

What a pertinent post, Gary.

I really like what you had to say. This is an important issue that I believe will be screwed up by the legislature.

Anonymous said...

Article in November, 2000 Logansport Pharos Tribune titled,
“Candidate’s ex-wife says he paid for her abortion.”
The open seat for one Logansport are legislative race is encountering an open season on a controversial issue as the campaign enters its final day.
The former wife of Republican State Senate candidate Brandt Hershman said Monday that his pro-life positions and endorsement by Indian Right to Life do not conform with his personal beliefs. Tracy Johnson Hershman said when she became pregnant in early 1997, Hershman asked to have an abortion. On May 30, 1997, she claims he drove her to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Merrillville where he paid for her to abort their child. Hershman asked her for a divorce a week later, she said.
“This is about somebody who really isn’t who he says he is,” Johnson Hershman, a former Valparaiso Vidette Messenger reporter who now resides in Michigan City.
Tracy Johnson Hershman, who says she is a Republican, said he forced her to have an abortion. Brandt Hershman said, “I did not force anyone to do anything, ever, period. Tracy Johnson Hershman’s response is that he may not have forcibly made her have an abortion, but he made it clear he wanted her to abort the child.
Tracy Johnson Hershman, who is also Catholic, said her former husband did not want her to go to church.
“If he just got religion, he just got religion,” she says.
“I am the one with the Catholic guilt over (the abortion),” she said. “I’m the one who sat there and cried over the entire thing.”
The couple had been married since 1989.
Tracy Johnson Hershman said she is not out to assassinate the character of her former husband, but the truth has to be know, but she learned of some of the claims her former husband was making after his campaign supporters called on a former business associate.