Commentary and Opinion

MAURER: Amend our constitution while we can

August 31, 2013

Mickey MaurerFellow right-wing Republicans, mount your steeds, take up your lances, and follow our governor as he righteously defends the Hoosier state from the incursion of Freedom Indiana and all citizens who have the temerity to believe they should have the freedom to marry whomever they choose.

Last week, Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan, statewide organization, including clergy, undertook a grassroots campaign to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently restrict marriage and civil union to a man and a woman.

Our ancestors rejoiced during the Crusades when in the name of religion they ran through an estimated 5 million infidels. That DNA courses through our bodies and enriches our souls. Now it’s our turn to unleash the serpent of prejudice and hatred.

The current law banning same-sex marriages does not sufficiently set apart and condemn homosexuality. The proposed marriage rights amendment will accomplish that. It prohibits not only the union but other indices of marriage attached to every married couple. Under this legislation, homosexuals cannot receive violence protection against assault by their partner, cannot automatically make health care decisions for their partner in an emergency, cannot qualify for partners’ benefits for health insurance or life insurance, cannot share custody of their shared children and cannot adopt.

The last time we stuck it to a minority was the miscegenation laws, which banned interracial marriage and interracial sex. Those were the good old days. With both hands clutching the Bible, Indiana proudly stood as a state that didn’t repeal this law until 1965—and then only under the threat of a pending Supreme Court decision.

Pay no attention to the claim of Cummins and Eli Lilly that our well-intentioned effort could send Indiana reeling economically, socially and morally. Who cares that we will lose opportunity for businesses that may otherwise consider moving to Indiana and for conventioneers who will undoubtedly revel elsewhere? Soon we will have the Indiana we have all been praying for. God is on our side. (Actually, Moses was the last person to talk with God. “Stick it to the gays” was not on the tablets.)

We can prevail by perpetuating the falsehood that this Constitutional Amendment will protect our young children from unmatched parents who are therefore unfit. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.”

It is important that we include our children in this endeavor. There will always be somebody to demean and deny and our children need to be ready. Intolerance and bigotry know no boundaries. Plant the seeds of homophobia and you will sprout racism, xenophobia and all the rest.

We must pass this amendment as soon as possible. Acceptance of same-sex marriage has rapidly gone mainstream. According to a recent poll by ABC News and The Washington Post there is a growing plurality—55 percent—that supports marriage equality. We need to get this hate law embedded in our Constitution before it is too late. Very soon fellow Hoosiers led by a large majority of young voters are not going to buy it.

Brian Bosma, a voice of sane conservatism in the state legislature, killed our fun last year when he nixed a bill allowing schools to teach creationism along with evolution in science classes. Bosma is a bright lawyer and a skilled legislator. He may flip on this issue and weigh in again on our attempt to manipulate religion to further our intolerant political agenda.

Above all, we cannot pause to appreciate that although some people have a different sexual orientation, they have ambitions, goals and ideals—that they are human beings who love our country and wish to be full citizens of this state. We cannot cast aside the tired rhetoric of a bygone era and stand beside and support all Hoosiers regardless of sexual persuasion—or can we?•

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Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.

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