A Brief History of Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment

I try to follow and post about the Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment every time it’s come up in the Indiana State Legislature, and here is a short history that I’ve been able to cobble together from past posts. This is mainly a testimony to my sketchy blogging more than anything else, as I seem to have often failed to follow up on posting about the outcomes of various bills. I’ll attempt to update this page with more research on bilerico.com and the Indiana legislative archives when I we are not in the middle of a legislative fight and when my internet is a lot more reliable than it is today.

In January of 2014, HJR-6 was re-named HJR-3 and introduced to the House Judiciary Committee. It got stuck in committee because it didn’t have the votes to move, so Brian Bosma moved it to the Elections Committee where it passed.

In January of 2013, HJR-6 (which is now the current bill HJR-3) was filed but never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers indicated that they preferred to wait until the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act were announced.

In March 2011, HJR-6 (which is now the current bill HJR-3) was being pushed through the state legislature for the first time. The LGBT Community held a rally to protest it.

In February of 2008, SJR-7 died after Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City refused to hear the legislation in the House.

In January of 2008, Representative Eric Turner, ranking Republican on the House Rules and Legislative Policy Committee, tried to amend a property tax bill to add SJR-7 after it looked like it would never make it out of committee to be heard.

On April 3rd, 2007, SJR-7 died in committee, unable to make it out of the Indiana House of Representative’s Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

On March 29th, SJR-7 testimony to the House Committee for SJR-7 revealed that the language in it had been rejected for the federal version of this amendment by Robert Bork because it was too ambiguous.

In the spring of 2007, SJR-7 became was being pushed through a house committee.

On February 8th of 2007, SJR-7 passed the Indiana Senate and was sent to a House committee to be heard.

On January of 2007, SJR-7, an Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment was re-introduced to the State Lesgislature.

On March 8th of 2005, we held a rally to oppose SJR-7, the first wave of an attempt to pass the Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment. This was the language of SJR-7:

Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Notice the second sentence of that bill – at time, we noted how flawed the language of the second sentence (different language than today’s HJR3, but still really flawed and problematic) was.

Prior to SJR-7 in 2005: There was a great deal of awareness in Indiana that a Marriage Discrimination Amendment was probably coming. There was an attempt to pass one on a federal level in 2003-2004 before the plan was blocked in Senate and the failure of Massachusetts ban on same-sex marriage and subsequent marriages triggered a flurry of activity in red states like our when opponents of same-sex marriage rights realized their days were numbered.

I really think there was a prior attempt at an amendment in the late 1990s or early 2000s, because I recall when I was more politically active in LGBT Fairness that we covered the issue and when we were fighting the state statute. I don’t have specific bill numbers or information about those attempts yet.

Continue ReadingA Brief History of Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment


This is a rally I’m planning on attending to speak out against SJR7, which will put anti-gay hatred into the Indiana constitution.

We are going to step outside of our homes and places of employment for one day – March 8th – to demonstrate and protest – not only against Eric Miller and his pro-marriage rally at the State House – but against the overall, blatant attempt by our lawmakers in Indiana to discriminate against homosexuals. The attempt at writing discriminatory legislation sends a clear message to our community, as well as to the state and country that we, as well as our economic contributions, are not welcome here.

Many of you already know that a bill was filed (SJR7) that will ban same sex marriage in Indiana. In addition to this discriminatory bill, two other bills have been filed:

SJR 585 – ATTACK ON ADOPTION/FOSTERING: This bill will prohibit homosexuals from being foster parents and adopting.

SJR 541 – ATTACK ON DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS: According to the lawyers for employer disputes, this bill will limit eligibility under a state university health plan to an employee of the university and to the spouse and dependent children of the employee.

Eric Miller is the founder of Advance America – a group that deems itself the largest pro-family, pro-church, pro-private and home school, and pro-tax reform organization in the state of Indiana. His pro marriage rally at the State House will seek support for the ban of same sex marriage and civil unions. For more information on Advance America and Eric Miller’s pro marriage rally, visit http://www.advanceamerica.com/

Eric Miller’s rally will be taking place at the State House in Indianapolis. And you can bet we will be there – but we are also giving thought to demonstrations statewide on that day since we realize that a trip to Indianapolis may be difficult for most. Watch for info on the organized demonstrations or plan your own peaceful attempt at getting our lawmakers’ attention on this matter.

Outside of attending town hall meetings, writing and calling our lawmakers, volunteering and simply staying informed, watch for more information on ROCKING INDIANA on March 8th. Planning for the demonstration(s) is still in its infancy, but what you should do right now is mark the day on your calendar and watch for more detailed info. Most importantly, plan to do something that day to fight for your rights.

Even if you do not care if you have the right to marry in the state of Indiana, you should be very concerned about the pro-active attempt at writing discriminatory laws that will send a very clear message to everyone in the state, as well as to everyone in the country, that we are second class citizens undeserving of equal rights and equal protection under our laws. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Outside of the aforementioned additional bills filed to discriminate against homosexuals, the wording of the recently filed Hershman bill (SJR 7) may include language that will make broader discrimination possible i.e. as with employment. So if the right to marry, garnering domestic partner benefits and/or fostering and adopting children do not hit home, getting a job and being able to keep it should.

PLEASE take the time; PLEASE make the effort to join us (wherever in the state it you may be) that day. Get your friends, family, neighbors and your children together. THIS WILL BE PEACEFUL! We need to put faces in front of our fight and we need to show the lawmakers in this state that we will not stand for discrimination based upon sexual orientation. We cannot lie down on this one folks! We need to come out in high numbers!

This grassroots effort encompasses folks from various GLBT organizations along with individuals with no particular organization-affiliation. We have put together a volunteer committee for pulling together this and possibly other events. If you would like to participate in organizing, please contact Pepper Partin.

Continue ReadingROCK INDIANA – On MARCH 8th!