Quoting the Westminster Standards on public television...
Last Tuesday, Bloomington's public television station, WTIU, broadcast a forum opposing Indiana's 1997 defense of marriage act (DOMA) passed by our legislature and signed into law by our Democratic Governor, Frank O'Bannon. Since then, the Indiana Legislature has gone on to pass another DOMA aimed at further solidifying our state's opposition to sodomite marriage by writing it into our Indiana State Constitution.
WFIU went far afield looking for someone to come on the show who would support the DOMA constitutional amendment. Everyone they asked (including one man in our church who had prior commitments) declined to serve as the loyal opposition to the producer, moderator and other two members of the panel who oppose DOMAs. The producer ended up asking if I'd be willing to do it, so after asking for advice from several, I complied and this is the result. There was much I didn't say and could have, but I was grateful for the work and hope it will be helpful to some of our good readers.
Here's the history of these DOMAs provided for us by an expert in Indiana law and politics...
In 1997, the Indiana General Assembly passed Indiana’s Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). In his first term, (Democratic) Governor O’Bannon signed it into law. It declares:
- Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.
- A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is solemnized. (footnote 1)
This law is included in the same Code chapter with other marriage safeguards, including minimum-age requirements, prohibition of polygamy, and prohibition of marriage between persons too closely related by blood. (footnote 2)
One primary purpose of the IN Focus program is to apply media pressure against the General Assembly from taking the second step in passing an identical proposed amendment. In 2011, both houses of the Indiana General Assembly passed a joint resolution to amend the Indiana Constitution. This is the first step in the state-constitution amendment process. The second step is for a separately elected General Assembly to pass an identical resolution. That can happen sometime in 2013 after the November 2012 elections. The third and final step is for the public to vote on it in a statewide election. That can happen in 2014.
The proposed constitutional amendment that passed by both legislative houses in 2011 provides:
Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) 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. (footnote 3)
This resolution passed 40 to 10 in the Senate and 70 to 26 in the House. This proposed amendment not only forbids homosexual marriage, it limits marriage to two persons and forbids recognition of “civil unions.”
Footnote 1: Ind. Code § 31-11-1-1.
Footnote 2: Ind. Code § 31-11-1-2 (prohibiting marriage between persons more closely related than second cousins); Indiana Code § 31-11-1-3 (prohibiting polygamy); Indiana Code § 31-11-1-4 (requiring each individual to be at least 18).
Footnote 3: House Joint Resolution 6 (2011).