With tomorrow being my 4th wedding anniversary, I felt it only fitting to print this column that ran this week at the Statehouse File.Com. Happy reading!!!
Back in June I penned a column on same-sex marriage and how I couldn’t understand the arguments against it, since none of them were rooted in logic and reason, only silliness and an irrational fear of two consenting adults living their lives and not reaching into my pocket nor encroaching on my property.
Well, with this week being my fourth wedding anniversary, I figured it was time to give the supporters of the proposed marriage amendment a gift, a wake up call wrapped in reality and tied with a bow of brutal honesty. Same-sex marriage is inevitable and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
As I wrote earlier this summer, attitudes on the subject have already changed. I’ve told you that according to Gallup, back in 1996 nearly 70 percent of the public opposed same-sex marriage. In the most recent national polling, that number has dropped considerably.
Remember the three public polls I told you about taken in the last few years regarding the marriage equality issue in Indiana? A Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll taken in March 2011 showed 43 percent of the public favoring an amendment banning same-sex marriage, while 47 percent opposed it. Seven percent were undecided.
A poll by political writer Brian Howey and DePauw University had 48 percent of voters supporting the amendment and 45 percent opposing, with 7 percent undecided. And the most recent poll, conducted by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University, showed only 38 percent of the public supporting the measure and 54 percent opposing it.
Of course you remember that.
Well what’s happened since then? Most importantly a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that will allow same-sex couples the same tax status as traditional married couples. Now while the anti-tax guy in me says all that means is that they can enjoy the same marriage penalty as the rest of us, really what it means is that state’s that don’t recognize same-sex marriage are about to find their tax codes have gotten a lot more complicated. Indiana does not recognize same-sex marriages, but Indiana’s Department of Revenue does recognize the federal tax code and much of Indiana’s code is based on what the federal government allows. So this means there is going to be a lot of scrambling over at state revenue to try and figure out how to make all this work.
And here’s something else to chew on while we’re at it: Opponents of the proposed marriage amendment are not only organized, but they will have a lot of cash at their disposal to fight the amendment should it get on the ballot in 2014 (which I am still not fully convinced it will for reasons I will explain in a few sentences). When Indiana’s major employers come out and tell you something is so bad for business that they’ve formed a coalition to put a stop to it, that should say something. Also the fact that a good chunk of the anti-marriage amendment crowd are young Republicans under 40 who have a libertarian streak in them when it comes to social issues should tell you quite a bit.
And now: Why I think the amendment has a good chance of being pushed back.
I am hearing there is still uncertainty about what the second portion of the language in the amendment means. Part one says, “Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.” I get that.
Part two says, “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.” I have no idea what that means and neither do a lot of other people; most of them members of the Indiana General Assembly. And that’s the joy of the law of unintended consequences: A certain amount of legal uncertainty will only make my fellow lawyers rich.
Speaking of which, time to go get my wife’s anniversary present. I hope you enjoyed the one I just gave you.