A couple of days ago, the Indianapolis Star reported that a lawsuit had been filed by same-sex couples seeking to have Indiana recognize their marriages.
The usual suspects said the usual things.
“For years we have warned legislators and policy leaders that homosexual activists were seeking to force a new definition of marriage upon every church, school and business in Indiana,” Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana said in a statement.
“Today, a lawsuit has been filed in the Southern federal court district of Indiana to overturn our laws that recognize marriage as not just any relationship, but as the special union of a man and a woman which benefits children and society like no other. We knew this would happen when the legislature sent the signal that it would not protect our laws with the final passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment this year. This issue now rests in the hands of unelected judges, just as a majority of our legislators wanted, rather than letting the people of Indiana decide the future of marriage.”
State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, a staunch supporter of Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, immediately took to Twitter to criticize the lawsuit.
“We knew this day was coming,” he said. “Our federal court system has evolved into the forum of choice for liberal activism.”
Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, another supporter of the constitutional amendment, said lawmakers have “denied the people of Indiana the right to preserve marriage and handed an invitation to our opponents to go ahead and knock marriage out before Hoosiers can vote on it in 2016.”
Same old, same old.
My question is: where the hell was the reporter? By acting simply as a transcriber—by simply quoting the hysterics of these reliable homophobes without question or comment—the reporter left readers who don’t know better (and let’s face it, that’s a lot of them!) with the distinct impression that passage of HJR 3 would have averted this lawsuit and/or its outcome.
Let’s try this one more time: the federal constitution (you know, the one these guys all claim to revere) trumps state law. Even state constitutional law. If and when the courts decide that the U.S. Constitution requires recognition of same-sex marriages, a contrary provision in the Indiana Constitution will be rendered null and void. Hoosiers can vote until the cows come home—if same-sex marriage is entitled to Equal Protection of the Laws, their votes can’t change that. The Bill of Rights is a counter-majoritarian document; it protects fundamental rights against efforts by majorities to deny those rights to unpopular or disfavored individuals or minorities.
Indiana citizens can’t vote on my reading materials. They don’t get to choose my religion, my friends or my politics. They can’t vote to deprive me of the right to a jury trial if I’m arrested, and they don’t get to vote to allow police to stop and search me without probable cause. Since 1967 (when those “activist” judges recognized that citizens of all colors came within the Bill of Rights’ protection) popular majorities haven’t been able to vote on whether a white person can marry a black one.
Micah Clark, Curt Smith and their ilk may be too blinded by their animus to GLBT folks to understand this basic element of our constitutional jurisprudence, but there is no excuse for the Star reporter.