By: Brian Sikma
When traditional marriage supporters advocated for a state marriage amendment in 2008, Speaker Pat Bauer argued that such a constitutional amendment was unnecessary and redundant in light of Indiana’s existing state law. Proponents of the amendment responded by saying that the same judicial reasoning that allowed courts in Massachusetts and elsewhere to challenge the constitutionality of marriage laws could be used by Indiana courts. The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to create a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and impose that new definition on the state proves the Speaker wrong, and marriage supporters right.
Unlike Massachusetts, a state known in recent decades for being highly “progressive” in both fiscal and social policy, Iowa is a mid-west state whose citizens have many of the same values that Hoosiers have. One may have expected courts in states like California and Massachusetts to have activist judiciaries more than willing to redefine the definition of marriage. But Iowa is not a state that would have been considered a prime candidate for this sort of judicial misrule.
Indiana legislators and policy makers should take close note of the Iowa decision and realize that what happened there could happen here. Marriage is a fundamental institution in society and the state must act whenever necessary to protect its status and definition. Without its presence as a bedrock unit in the makeup of society, our state cannot expect to move forward into a prosperous future. The strength of our state, the well-being of our children, and the prosperity of our communities depend on our ability to protect marriage from those who would redefine it into something it has never been, and will never be able to successfully be.
Although this session of the General Assembly failed to act on a marriage amendment, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Bray (R) being responsible for his committee’s failure to hear the matter in the Senate, the Iowa ruling will hopefully spur legislative leaders to action next session.