Attorneys, Religious Leaders Oppose HJR6
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A constitutional amendment threatens not just same-sex couples, but also those of opposite sex in Indiana.
That was the claim made during a rally held at the Lawrenceburg Public Library on Saturday. The political action committee Freedom Indiana – which identifies itself not as a “pro-gay marriage” group, but rather an organization aimed at defeating House Joint Resolution 6 – organized the event attended by close to three dozen people.
HJR6 would prohibit legal protections for same-sex and unmarried couples, including civil unions, domestic partnerships, marriage, health benefits, and other liberties. The proposal passed the Indiana legislature in 2011, but must pass again with the exact same language in 2014 in order to go to Hoosier voters in November.
Local religious leaders were among those speaking out against the amendment.
“I’m opposed to this legislation for many reasons,” said Pastor Chad Adamik of St. John Lutheran Hubbells Church near Sunman. “I’m concerned about the economic impact. I’m concerned about keeping the best and brightest Hoosiers in Indiana. I’m concerned about civil liberties of all persons who define relationships outside the traditional bounds of marriage. This includes straight couples as well as same gender couples.”
Adamik, noting he was only speaking for himself and not the church he leads, said legislators shouldn’t change the state constitution to define what marriage should or should not be, calling marriage a “complex human issue” that is “just too personal.”
Pastor Nancy Nichols of Hamline Chapel United Methodist Church in Lawrenceburg told ralliers that 30 years of ministry has often brought her to work with many people from the LGBT community. Fear, she said, sometimes makes those individuals feel like they have nowhere to go.
“I’m not sure it is up to the state to determine what human relationships look like. That’s why I too oppose this legislation,” Nichols said.
Nichols also said she was addressing the crowd as an individual, not speaking for her church.
Lawrenceburg attorney Martin DeJulia, a gay man raised Catholic, addressed the crowd, saying that the amendment serves to make Indiana a less welcoming place. He said the idea of gay marriage ban becoming part of the state constitution offends him deeply, especially when a law is already in place.
“To me a law is something that can be repealed or a process that we can have a conversation or debate about. But, when you put something in an amendment in a constitution, it’s saying something. Gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people are still going to co-habitate. So, what you’re saying is that your relationships don’t mean anything,” DeJulia argued.
State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) attended the rally, but did not speak. He has previously gone on record that he will vote for the amendment so that Indiana voters can decide the issue.
Those in attendance were urged to contact their state legislators to let them know their feelings on HJR6.