HJR-6: The Enshrining of Discrimination into the Indiana State Constitution

This week we learned that Rep. Eric Turner filed HJR-6—the Marriage Discrimination Amendment—in the Indiana House.  This wasn’t a big surprise; we knew it would happen—we just didn’t know when.

HJR-6 is a proposed bill that seeks to narrowly define marriage in Indiana.  The exact wording is as follows:

“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.”

I attended some of the hearings for this bill and listened to hours of testimony.  No matter how logical the arguments were against HJR-6, most of the legislators did not budge.  They heard representatives from Lilly, Cummins and other corporations tell them that this bill would prevent them from hiring the best and the brightest.  They heard parents relate how their children have left the state because they felt that they were not wanted.  They heard religious leaders explain that this bill is discriminatory and is in no one’s best interest.

Obviously, there is a lot of heated discussion when people talk about HJR-6.  No matter what side they’re on, arguments break out and feelings are hurt.  Last year, a psychotherapist from Bloomington named Jean Capler decided that people need to learn how to discuss this divisive issue in a calm and respectful manner.  She formed an organization called Fair Talk.  Fair Talk is a grassroots group working to achieve full marriage equality for same-sex couples in Indiana by fostering respectful conversations between people on all sides of the issue.

To bring this discussion to Indianapolis, Fair Talk is partnering with Indianapolis PFLAG by having a concert.  In-between the musical acts, representatives from Fair Talk, Indianapolis PFLAG and Indiana Equality Action will educate audience members about HJR-6 and teach them how to have those respectful conversations.  Our goal is to have people attend who either know very little about HJR-6 or nothing at all.  We want them to be prepared to go out and share what they learned so more people will know about the dangers of this proposed bill.

The concert will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at The Church Within, 1125 Spruce Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203.  Admission is $5.00 at the door.

Our emcee will be Dan Henkel, who has been the emcee for The Indy Folk Series for the past twelve years.  Musical performers are Mac Bellner (of Hogeye Navvy), Joan Hamilton, Cara Marcy and Juliette Nehring.

If HJR-6 does pass in the House, and then the Senate, it will eventually go to a public vote.  The more people who know the truth about this bill, the more people will vote against it.  The passage of HJR-6 would mean that the LGBT citizens of Indiana would not have the chance to make legal commitments to be with the persons they love and care for.  It would also enshrine discrimination into our State Constitution.  The constitution is a document that should be giving people rights, not taking them away.

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About Annette Gross

Annette Siegel Gross is co-president of Indianapolis PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends and Allies of Lesbians & Gays) as well as the State Coordinator for the nine PFLAG chapters in Indiana. She joined PFLAG in 2001 after her son came out. In 2005 Annette was invited by Indiana Equality to represent Indianapolis PFLAG in a newly-formed coalition to help push through a Human Rights Ordinance in Marion County. This involvement was just the beginning of Annette's interest in advocacy. She has given speeches, radio interviews and written blog pieces about LGBT equality. Currently Annette is working with Freedom Indiana to help defeat HJR-3—the proposed state constitutional ban of same-sex marriage in Indiana. She is one of the co-founders of the You Have A Purpose Project.
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