The Indiana legislature just adjourned and we can now report that valuable efforts to save local Human Rights Ordinances statewide were successful.
S.B. 213 passed both houses last month. It was intended to address local governments’ salary/benefit ordinances.
Its unintended consequence? Elimination of all local human rights ordinances.
IEA worked closely with legislative leaders and multiple mayors who wanted a strong statement to be sent: local HROs protect over a million Hoosiers…we will not tolerate any reduction in HRO protection.
IEA’s lobbyist worked closely with the Speaker’s office to draft corrective language to exempt HROs from S.B. 213. It was successful.
We received help from numerous allies in the Statehouse and beyond–we’re very grateful.
Our special thanks to the Governor, whose multiple public statements indicated his support for a “fix” and to Indianapolis Mayor Ballard, who told reporters the HRO protection was needed to send a message of inclusion and diversity. Several other Hoosier mayors weighed in, too.
We are deeply indebted to those who stood with us. The support crossed party lines. That’s the kind of support we’ll need from you as we move forward to defeat HJR-6, the Marriage Discrimination Amendment.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support of IEA. Let’s get ready for the 2014 session and HJR-6.
A broad coalition of Hoosier churches, equality organizations, and community groups have joined forces to present a series of screenings of the film Inlaws & Outlaws and discussion events in Indianapolis, Bloomington/Ellettsville, and Lafayette this May.
Billed as All IN for Love, the program features four public screenings of Inlaws & Outlaws as well as post-screening Q & A’s with filmmaker Drew Emery. For two of the shows, FairTalk will also lead facilitated conversation circles on the intersection of faith and marriage equality. While the presentation of the film is to inspire greater understanding and support for marriage equality, the conversation circles are an opportunity for people with divergent points of view to respectfully find common ground.
Thursday, May 2nd
Time: 7 PM screening; Q&A with Drew Emery
Place: Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd Street, Indianapolis (click address for map)
Suggested donation: $10 (proceeds benefit Indiana Equality Action)
Saturday, May 4th
Time: 1 PM screening; Q&A with Drew Emery; 3 PM conversation circle facilitated by FairTalk
Place: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 6050 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis (click address for map)
Price: Free (donations accepted!)
Time: 7 PM screening; refreshments and Q&A with Drew Emery
Place: Endwright Center, 7500 W. Reeves Road, Ellettsville (click address for map)
Suggested donation: $10 (proceeds benefit FairTalk)
Sunday, May 5
Time: 1 PM screening; refreshments and Q&A with Drew Emery; 3 PM conversation circle facilitated by FairTalk
Place: Sylvia’s Brick Oven & Columbia Ballroom, 625 Columbia Street, Lafayette (click address for map)
Price: Free (donations accepted!)
I wanted to follow up with you on our meeting last week regarding the marriage equality and the Supreme Court arguments. This morning, Senator Donnelly released a statement publicly stating his support for marriage equality, which I have listed below.
Senator Joe Donnelly Statement on Marriage Equality
“In recent years, our country has been involved in an important discussion on the issue of marriage equality. While serving in the House of Representatives, I had the opportunity to act on a core belief of mine: we are a stronger country when we draw on the strengths of all Americans. I voted to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and was an original supporter of the bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their sexual orientation. It is also for that reason that I oppose amending either Indiana’s or our nation’s constitution to enshrine in those documents an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’ instead of a ‘we.’ With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all.”
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about the Senator’s position or if our office can be of any assistance in the future.
Senator Joe Donnelly
Tuesday, March 26th, 5:30 – 6:30 PM (Bloomington)
FairTalk invites everyone to gather and show our support and hope for a fair and just Supreme Court ruling on the DOMA and Prop 8 cases. This rally is being held at the Monroe County Courthouse as part of a nationwide event in support of marriage equality called United for Marriage: Light the Way to Justice.
Wednesday, March 27, 6-7 PM (Indianapolis)
As a part of the “Light the Way to Justice” movement, IEA will be holding a vigil on the east steps of the statehouse in Indianapolis (220 W. Washington Street) from 6-7 PM on Wednesday, March 27th. Bring your family, bring your friends, and join us to show your support for relationship equality at this unprecedentedly significant moment in our nation’s history.
Wednesday, March 27, 6-7 PM (Lafayette)
Join Pride Lafayette and people from both sides of the river as they meet in the middle of the pedestrian bridge at 6:00. At 6:15 they will march to the Courthouse in downtown Lafayette. Several Community Leaders have agreed to speak, including Heather Maddox (Tippecanoe County Democrats), Rev. Charlie Davis, Ashley Smith (Pride), and Margy D., (PFLAG) (more possible speakers yet to be determined)
(Any events planned in your neck of the woods? Send them to email@example.com for inclusion)
Wondering how the cases before the Supreme Court will impact us in the Hoosier state?
For those of us staying behind while IEA past-president Rick Sutton heads off to D.C., Don Sherfick has put together a fact sheet pdf about how the arguments heard tomorrow and Wednesday will reverberate into the heartland in June.
Wanted to make sure you saw this exciting news today – we are able to continue our fight for equality and civil rights because of your hard work and support! — Don S.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Equality Action, a statewide organization that advocates for civil rights laws and policies to protect LGBT Hoosiers, today joined with 23 “red state” equality groups filing an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to adopt a heightened scrutiny legal standard in cases of discrimination involving LGBT Americans.
“This brief is submitted by organizations representing people — gay and straight alike — who are diverse in their beliefs and backgrounds but who share the conviction that gay and lesbian Americans — wherever they might live — are entitled to legal equality under the Constitution of the United States,” states the brief, which was filed this morning by the Utah Pride Center.
The Court will hear two cases next month: a challenge to the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and a challenge to Proposition 8, a successful 2008 ballot initiative that banned same sex marriage in California.
“Indiana may be a red state, but it’s becoming clearer with each passing day that the fight for equality and civil rights for LGBT Hoosiers is not partisan. It’s about doing the right thing,” said Indiana Equality Action’s Don Sherfick, a retired Navy civilian attorney.
“We’re pleased to join the Utah Pride Center in filing this brief, and we hope the Supreme Court will agree that LGBT individuals deserve the same legal protections from discrimination under our Constitution as other groups have long been afforded.”
As IEA’s reported and you’ve seen in the media by now, the majority leaders in both houses of the General Assembly have decided to delay consideration of HJR-6, the so-called “Indiana Marriage Protection” amendment to our state’s constitution, until the session beginning in January 2014.
They’ve cited a desire to wait for two important U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality decisions (on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8) expected in June of this year. Clearly, this national issue has links to Indiana, and IE Action is pleased to be playing a role.
Last November with our encouragement and help, a dedicated group of students at the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington compiled and published “More Than Just A Couple,” a compilation of 614 Indiana statutory provisions applicable to married couples. The passage of HJR-6 would cast into serious doubt our lawmakers’ ability to apply any or all of these to same sex or other unmarried couples.
And next week, on Thursday, February 28, IEA’s Vice President Don Sherfick will be among the presenters at a Continuing Legal Education program sponsored by the Indiana State Bar Association entitled “Same Sex Unions at the Crossroads,” focusing on:
- the details of HJR-6,
- the “More Than Just A Couple” document,
- how the Supreme Court decision might affect Indiana, and
- the ACLU’s perspective on related LGBT litigation.
Indiana lawyers can obtain two hours of CLE credits and non-lawyers are very welcome to attend both this event and a social reception afterwards. The registration fee for those not seeking CLE credits is only $15.00. The event will be held in the Regions Bank Building (Fifth Floor Conference Center) at One Indiana Square in downtown Indianapolis.
We encourage you to sign up and attend.
Below is the link to the ISBA website containing registration information. See you there!
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Equality Action and a number of allied organizations across the state issued the following statement today in response to the decision by House and Senate lawmakers not to pursue a vote on HJR-6 during the 2013 General Assembly session.
(The statement should be attributed to Indiana Equality Action executive director Rick Sutton. Allied organizations are listed below.)
“First and foremost, we want to thank legislators for putting the brakes on an amendment that would permanently alter our Indiana Constitution with uncertain long-term consequences.
“We continue to believe the spirit of this amendment runs counter to our shared Hoosier values of kindness and equality. We also believe that the breadth and vagueness of the second sentence of the proposed amendment creates a host of unintended legal issues.
“A recent study by students at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law found a significant number of rights and obligations related to marriage that could be permanently denied under the proposed amendment. We will continue to look into these issues and monitor the U.S. Supreme Court cases in the coming months.
“Today, though, we celebrate the evolution of this debate and the open, honest dialogue we have had with lawmakers about the amendment’s effect on our state, our economy and our future. A delay is by no means a win, but we believe we are headed in a better direction, and Indiana is stronger when we all move forward together.”
Citizens for Civil Rights
Mary J. Finnegan
FairTalk at IU
Indiana Stonewall Democrats
Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination (ICON)
Rev. Marie Siroky
Mental Health America of Indiana
Lester C. Miller, Chair of the Board
One Voice Indiana
Dr. Bill Buffie
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Tri State Alliance
It is unutterably delightful to me that this is IEA’s 1,000th blog post. :)
Reports from around the state, nation, and world today about the flashmob wedding at Bloomington’s PRIDE Film Festival! Mayor Mark Kruzan and a host of local political and religious figures presided yesterday evening over a group wedding in protest of HJR-6. Below are some links I’ve rounded up – if you have more, send ‘em in and don’t forget to buy your ticket to PRIDE’s weekend of festivities!
13 gay and lesbian couples ‘marry’ in ceremony led by Bloomington mayor (pdf) | Indianapolis Star, Kristine Guerra
“People ask us why we’re doing this…It’s about equality and opportunity,” Kruzan said. “History simply will not smile kindly upon those who advocated against equality. It’s time that same-sex marriage be recognized by all.”
A Message To Lawmakers: A Dozen Gay Marriages In Bloomington | Indiana Public Media, Stan Jastrzebski
Kruzan says he’s under no illusions about the legality of the proceedings, even if he believes he’s in an expanding minority of elected leaders.
“It is symbolic and it’s not power that’s vested in me as the mayor of Bloomington but I think it’s important for people to realize that there are a lot of people who depend on votes willing to stand up and say ‘This is what we would like to have the power to do.’”
‘I pronounce you partners in life’: Mayor conducts symbolic ceremonies for local gay and lesbian couples (pdf) | Bloomington Herald Times, Jon Blau
Joining a dozen other gay and lesbian couples in taking symbolic vows, [Abby] Henkel, 26, and [Sarah] Perfetti, 28, made a statement for marriage equality, because if Perfetti didn’t have insurance through Indiana University, which recognized domestic partnerships, Henkel would be uninsured. It was also their statement, and the statement of local political officials and clergy who stood witness, that they do not agree with a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“I am honored to bear witness to this wedding ceremony and lend my voice to a rising chorus in Indiana and around the country in support of essential civil rights and in opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage,” Monroe County Councilor Rick Dietz said in a news release.
US: Mayor holds ‘wedding’ for 13 gay couples to protest against proposed equal marriage ban | PinkNews.co.uk, Joseph Patrick McCormick
At the ceremony, Mayor Kruzan said: “By the power not yet invested in me by the state of Indiana, I pronounce you partners in life.”
–Indianapolis Star, Jill Disis
“Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan is conducting a wedding ceremony Thursday for more than a dozen LGBT couples, in a move meant to protest a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
The ceremony coincides with the 10th anniversary of the PRIDE LGBTQ Film Festival in the city, and will take place at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (114 E. Kirkwood Avenue) at around 9:30 p.m. [at the end of] the opening night of the festival [Thursday, Jan. 31].
Along with Kruzan, six members of Bloomington’s city council and two members of Monroe County Council are expected to attend and pledge support, according to a news release. Local clergy will also be at the ceremony.
Indiana does not currently recognize same-sex unions. A proposal for a constitutional amendment banning such marriages passed both Indiana’s House and Senate in 2011.
To get it before Indiana voters for a referendum in the 2014 election, lawmakers need to approve the proposal a second time in sessions either this year or next year.”
For details on the flashmob and to purchase tickets for the screening (required for participation in the wedding!), see the PRIDE Film Festival’s information site.