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Indiana

Ind. Attorney General fielding questions on proposed same-sex marriage ban

Saturday, December 28, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS — The chief counsel for Indiana state officials said Friday he has been fielding a lot of questions about placing the state’s same-sex marriage ban in the constitution.

The Indiana General Assembly is set to take up a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, civil unions and benefits for same-sex couples when it returns next month.

Greg Zoeller

Greg Zoeller

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he’s heard numerous questions from lawmakers support the ban as well as those opposed to the measure.

Zoeller said Friday he could not divulge details of those conversations because of attorney-client privilege, but said he’s been hearing extensively from both sides of the issue.

“We have to give honest legal views on how those cases might impact (Indiana), but it is a very volatile area of the law, particularly when it comes to federal cases that would be as applicable in Indiana as they would in states like Ohio or Utah,” he said.

Zoeller represents state lawmakers and other state officials in court and often provides legal advice.

Indiana’s battle comes shortly after three separate federal court rulings earlier this month overturned marriage bans in New Mexico, Ohio and Utah. Indiana is among a handful of states to limit marriage to being between one man and woman by statute, but not through its constitution.

Opponents of the amendment say it will drive away business, as national attitudes shift more in favor of gay marriage. Supporters of the constitutional amendment say it would protect against an Indiana judge overturning the state ban and also argue Indiana voters should have a say on the issue.

In order to be placed in the constitution, the measure must win approval in two consecutive two-year sessions of the General Assembly and then win approval from Indiana voters. Lawmakers from both parties overwhelmingly supported the amendment on its first vote in 2011, but a shifting national tide a nd well-funded effort by amendment opponents has raised new questions about whether the measure would clear the Legislature a second time.

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One alternative that has been floated is removing the so-called “second sentence” in the amendment, which extends the ban to civil unions and employer benefits. But legislative leaders are split on whether altering the language would reset the clock on the state’s lengthy constitutional amendment process.

Zoeller said Friday he had looked into the issue but could not find a clear precedent.

“There hasn’t been a case directly on point,” he said. “So had there been a question asked and answered, I’d be able to point to something specifically for people to refer to. The fact that it has not been fully addressed leaves it open to supposition as to what a federal court might do or what a state court might do.”

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38 more reader comments:

  1. What does Fielding mean? (I looked it up.) I don’t get it.

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 6:56pm
  2. getting questions.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 6:59pm
  3. he's been getting questions.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 6:59pm
  4. Odd title at any rate. Usually LGBTQ Nation article titles are more clear and to the point. I have never heard that word spoken before.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:11pm
  5. my equal rights are not up to other people u piece of crap…and,,beware gay people are are tired of this crap

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 6:59pm
  6. Sick of this bullshit let ppl have love even it’s same sex marriage and relationships fuck the government and everything

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:01pm
  7. So let me get this straight…. While the whole country moves forward, Indiana is going backwards?

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:02pm
  8. yep. it's illegal to even apply for a marriage license if you're a same sex couple. it's embarrassing

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:10pm
  9. In fact our governor and attorney general where the first to jump on the anti gay ban wagon. They used our tax dollars to fight the federal and state GOP/tea bagger discrimination agendas.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:57pm
  10. Why this need to interfere in what happens between two consenting adults? Baffles me!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:04pm
  11. HE BETTER !!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:05pm
  12. Yes Marissa, that’s what happens when a state is run by a bunch of Teabaggers who want a theocracy. I’m ashamed of what our lawmakers and governor are doing here in Indiana.

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:11pm
  13. Hoosier gay man and I want the same rights as everyone else!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:11pm
  14. Idiot

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:13pm
  15. It is a sad and very scary day when Satan and his followers get people to think that homosexuality is okay.
    I believe it is a trial in which homosexuals have been dealt and they need to learn to fight it and not give in. I would say it is probably one of the most difficult trials to face on earth because who what’s to be alone in order to follow Heavenly Fathers Law that marriage is between a man and a woman.
    I’m a single Heterosexual 37 year old and I have never been married. I am very lonely, but it’s a trial I must face.I do suffer from mental illness, anxiety, and agoraphobia. I have most of, if not all my life, which makes it hard to get out into the world and meet men. This is part of cross/trials I have to bear. I understand this and know that when the time comes in this life or in Heaven, I will get the chance to finally be with a husband for time and all eternity.
    I wish the people who are attracted to the same sex would realize that it may be a very hard and very lonely world for them, but they need to fight this attraction until the end. It’s a trial you need to fight. Don’t let Satan win.
    In these last days, Satan and his followers are working harder than ever to bring people over to his side. Please don’t let him win. Fight with all your might. It is a hard and difficult trial to overcome, but you can do it!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:24pm
  16. Angela , It is no wonder you are single. You are definitely mentally ill and should seek psychiatric care immediately.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:28pm
  17. Terry, I am sorry you feel that way. However, I do suffer from mental illness, anxiety, and agoraphobia. I have most of, if not all my life, which makes it hard to get out into the world and meet men. This is part of cross/trials I have to bear. I understand this and know that when the time comes in this life or in Heaven, I will get the chance to finally be with a husband for time and all eternity.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:36pm
  18. If that's the case, then Satan must be working with you. You're single! No children! What an abomination! You must be going to the pits! I know God loves me. He has given me a beautiful, loving, caring, woman and has blessed me with her love. Most of all, He accepts me for who I am in love with. He and I are very good friends. You should meet Him someday, very nice and loving person. Doesn't judge ANYONE by their sexual orientation.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:37pm
  19. Jackie, I am sorry you feel that way. However, I do suffer from mental illness, anxiety, and agoraphobia. I have most of, if not all my life, which makes it hard to get out into the world and meet men. This is part of cross/trials I have to bear. I understand this and know that when the time comes in this life or in Heaven, I will get the chance to finally be with a husband for time and all eternity.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:38pm
  20. Don't you dare tell me what to do, only God can tell me what to do. I know God loves me for loving, you should do the same. Love thy neighbor as you love yourself. I will never ask for guidance from a mere mortal, only God.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:34pm
  21. Jackie, I am not telling you what to do. I am sorry you took what I wrote as saying such. Yes, He does love you for loving, but also for loving in the appropriate way. I love thy neighbor that is why I am trying to share how I feel with you. There are "mere mortals" that were put on earth, by God to help guide you. I might not be one of them, but I would like to help. I am sorry if you feel I am speaking out of place.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:41pm
  22. @Angela, listen, we are waaay ahead of you, you need to stop listening to th rabbling crowd in th church, & follow your heart, with th content you were given. Thats right, Given. We all got sent here(my personal belief/experience) to live with certain constraints & talents, you are responsible for th fullness of your own life, if you do nothing with your life-set, & go back, what will you show? You could accept your life pretext, & work with it, & hopefully gain some profit, thats what She wants you to bring back to Her.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:50pm
  23. @Angela Larsen, if you'd like to discuss this further, I'm totally open to that, I dont see you as offensive or hateful, & welcome some open dialogue with you

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:52pm
  24. Rhiannon, What would you like to share?

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:53pm
  25. And the gist of the article is that they already have a state law in place, but they want to get the ban into the State Constitution before the existing law is ruled unconstitutional. Do they have any idea how much of an idiot they sound like?

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:25pm
  26. SSSHHH they did not want us to know....

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:59pm
  27. Angela Larsen—the God & Jesus I was raised to believe in preached love & tolerance, not hatred & bigotry.

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:28pm
  28. Marissa, I do follow my heart and the promptings I receive from the Holy Ghost and I believe that homosexuality is a sin/trial. Yes, you were sent to earth as God wanted you. However, think of a child who is sent to earth without an arm or some other aliment, that is a trial that child must endure, as I believe that homosexuals endure the trial of being attracted to the same sex. You feel how you feel about the topic and I feel how I feel. I am just sharing how I feel. I never said anything about hate. We all choose to live how we what. I am just sharing my feelings. I am not here to judge either, that is not up to me. That will be up to God on judgement day. I do however have to stand up for what I believe in, as do you.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:09pm
  29. Ohio has not overturned ban, but federal judge said ssm from out of state must be honored in Ohio for death certificates. Rights in death not in life. So backward and wrong. Wrong to vote on rights. Indiana should learn from the rest of the country. Don’t move backward. Go forward. Ohio will soon right it’s wrong too.0

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:33pm
  30. Wow, it only took 30 minutes for the first troll to show up!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:46pm
  31. Angela you are the lonely one one, not me and Satan has you!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:58pm
  32. Dayna, I am sorry you feel that way. I try to live everyday to come closer to Christ and live as I should. Every now and again I feel Satan pulling me in; wanting me to believe that homosexuality is okay, but I know deep in my soul that it's not. Satan and his followers try to pull us all in everyday, trying to entice us to believe it's wonderful and will fulfill our lives. You might fill that way now, but what happens when we all get to Heaven's Gate, standing in front of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on judgement day and realize we made the wrong choices and feel no remorse? I want us all to make it back to live with God and be aloud in his presence; that is why I am trying to share with everyone on this page how I feel. I don't feel I am wrong. I felt prompted to share how I felt today on this site. I hope we all make the right choices. P.S. you are right in the sense that I am lonely; however, only inn the sense that I would love to have a husband and raise a family. I do know that in this time of my life I am not ready to be married and if that time comes on earth or in the next life that will be up to Heavenly Father.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:24pm
  33. Apparently Angela you suffer from homophobia as well. It’s not a choice we are exactly the way God intended for us to be perfect in his eyes. We should have the same rights to marry as anyother human on the planet.

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:28pm
  34. Amy, I don't know if I would consider me a homophobe as you would intend, I am NOT going to bash anyone. However, I do follow my heart and the promptings I receive from the Holy Ghost and I believe that homosexuality is a sin. Yes, you were sent to earth as God wanted you. However, think of a child who is sent to earth without an arm or some other aliment, that is a trial that child must endure, as I believe that homosexuals endure the trial of being attracted to the same sex. You feel how you feel about the topic and I feel how I feel. I am just sharing how I feel.

    Replied on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:05pm
  35. Why do I have to put up with this homophobic shit on a page meant for LGBT people ? Go somewhere else Angela . Go take your meds and find some other place to troll . Fuck off !

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:46pm
  36. Indiana, the state that killed Tom Bridegroom

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:53pm
  37. A.L., I hope when your time comes, you will be willing to stand up to our Father and tell he was wrong to put some people’s soulmates into the body of someone of the same sex. I don’t envy you trying to tell God he makes mistakes. Good luck!

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:20pm
  38. Angela Larsen, I want you to know I’m an out-loud-proud lesbian, and more importantly, a close personal friend of God. She and I get together every Tuesday for twofer Martini night, and BOY do we swap some girl talk! I really didn’t want to tell you this, but you’ve actually come up in conversation multiple times. She’s disappointed in your hard heart, bigotry and exclusion of other of Her children. She says if you get your act together, learn to love your neighbor as commanded, even if gay, be more accepting of people who are not like you, and stop judging, your loneliness and mental health will both improve. She promised me, and She never lies.

    Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:34pm