Indiana Might Be Next to Allow Gay Marriage, But What Obstacles Remain?
In the last two weeks alone, New Mexico legalized marriage equality, and Utah struck down its same-sex marriage ban. Now, in the middle of the holiday season, Indiana might be the next legal battleground state for marriage equality. It's easy to think that because the last few months have seen a flurry of marriage equality victories that legalizing marriage equality in Indiana will be a breeze. But not so fast. Here's why activists in Indiana have their work cut out for them:
1. Republicans Are Indiana's Majority
Republicans dominate in both houses of Indiana's General Assembly. Primaries are in May 2014, so you can bet that the Republicans will be playing to what makes their base in order to maintain power in the assembly.
2. That Said, Republicans Are Torn Between Constituents
The Republican majority is going to be split on how to approach the marriage equality question because Indiana constituents themselves are split on marriage equality:
The issue is pitting socially conservative groups, who are urging a constitutional ban, against sometime allies in the state’s business community, who say a ban could cause Indiana economic harm.
3. An Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment Is On the Way
The public opinion tide seems to be shifting in the state favor of legalization. But legally speaking, it may not be. Here's an excerpt from Indiana's proposed anti-marriage equality amendment:
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.
If that amendment passes, that means that even other non-marriage arrangements between same-sex couples (like domestic partnerships) would not be honored in Indiana.
In better news one state over, Ohio has rejected a same-sex marriage ban, ruling it unconstitutional. U.S. Magistrate Timothy Black also ruled that the state would recognize same-sex marriages in other states on death certificates.
It's progress, but it sure isn't nationwide equality. Too bad Santa Claus couldn't have been more giving this year.