Forum discusses same-sex marriage

IUS Horizon

A group of people gather for the IUS CLU discussion on same-sex marriage.

A group of people gather for the IUS CLU discussion on same-sex marriage.

The Civil Liberties Union held their spring forum April 9, where they discussed same-sex marriages. A large crowd gathered to listen in the IUS Library.

One of the speakers, Kathy Sarris, president of Indiana Equality, said people in legislative positions know the legalization of same-sex marriages will happen eventually.

“Politicians need to hear from people [about same-sex marriages],” Sarris said. “They know it’s inevitable.”

When the CLU picked April 9, back in December, to hold the forum, they did not know same-sex marriages would be in the news.

The issue was recently in the news April 3, when Iowa’s Supreme Court announced it would begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they decided a ban on same-sex marriages violated the equal-protection clause of Iowa’s constitution.

On Tuesday, April 7, Vermont’s state legislature overrode a veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

On the same day the Washington, D.C., City Council voted 12-0 in favor of recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples who were married in other states.

These events were frequently mentioned or referenced in the discussion along with Proposition Eight.

Proposition Eight is an initiative that amended the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

There were four speakers at the discussion, includeding Linda Gugin, professor of political science, Michael Aldridge, executive director of The ACLU of Kentucky, Gil Holmes, interim executive director of The ACLU of Indiana, and Sarris.

Gugin talked about relevant background information pertaining to how initiatives like Proposition Eight get started.

Gugin described initiative processes as a citizen-driven process and they are usually more common in western states since they are more liberal.

“$83 million was spent on both sides of Proposition Eight,” Gugin said. “That was the most money spent on a campaign in 2008 besides the presidential campaign.”

She also said Proposition Eight was a battle among interest groups.

“Almost a mirror image of those who were for it was against it,” Gugin said.

Those who were in favor of the proposition were churchgoers, like Evangelicals and Catholics and couples with children.

Gugin also said the people who were against the proposition were non-churchgoers, lesbians and gays.

Aldridge spoke on the differences between a constitutional amendment and revision.

He also said the reason some were challenging the Proposition Eight was because some believed it was more of a revision than an amendment.

Aldridge went on to say that it’s rather hard for a government to recognize same-sex marriage and then take it back.

He said the California court is struggling with what are inalienable rights and what are not.

“There has to be a limit to the power of the majority on minorities,” Aldridge said.

Sarris said Proposition Eight failed for a variety of reasons.

Some of which included the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender communities didn’t campaign in Spanish and African-American communities to get their support.

“It was a matter of them not doing their leg work and expecting people to do the right thing.”

The four speakers also took questions from the large crowd in attendance.

Peter Clark, president of the CLU, said this was the largest turnout the CLU has ever had for their spring forum.

Julie Bland, CLU events coordinator, said there were 127 people in attendance at the forum.

The speakers took questions concerning the arguments against same-sex marriage and legislation in Indiana concerning same-sex-marriage.

Staff Writer