IndyBar takes public position against marriage amendment

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Backed by the results of a membership survey, the Indianapolis Bar Association has announced its opposition to the marriage amendment being debated at the Statehouse.

The announcement comes after several members asked the association to take a position on the proposed constitutional amendment and after the board of directors discussed the issues many times, according to 2014 IndyBar President Jeff Abrams. To be sure of the members’ views, the association conducted a survey and found more than 70 percent of respondents favored taking a public stance opposing the amendment, HJR 3, and companion legislation, House Bill 1153.

 “This is unique,” Abrams said. “I would say our legislative committee has voiced opinions before on proposed bills that affect how our lawyers practice law. This is going one step further and making a statement on behalf of our entire membership.”

A survey of its 4,928 attorneys, judges, paralegals and law students conducted last week drew 2,196 responses – a response rate of 47.4 percent, the highest response rate on record for the association.

Of the members who replied to the survey, 73.1 percent were in favor of publicly opposing HJR 3 while 20.1 percent favored taking no position on the measure. A slim portion, 5.4 percent, favored supporting the amendment and 1.5 percent expressed no opinion.

The association joins many major businesses in Indiana, universities, and municipalities in opposing the controversial amendment.

Looking at the Indiana Constitution’s history and precedent, the IndyBar contends the content of the amendment is inappropriate. Prior amendments dealt with defining the role and operation of state government. None focused on regulating individual citizens as HJR 3 does.

In addition, the bar association has concerns about the unintended consequences upon potentially hundreds of state laws if the amendment is approved by the Legislature and ratified by the public. The uncertainty, the association asserts, would likely lead to an interruption in the administration of justice, years of litigation and significant expense for individual citizens and Indiana businesses.

The marriage amendment was approved by the House Elections and Apportionment Committee last week and could be voted on by the House of Representatives as early as Monday.



  • I burn incense before thee, goddess liberty
    YES! How dare those legislators attempt to pass laws. Thankfully we have the unelected lifetime appointee federal judges to help protect us from democracy. This is just the sort of thing we are trying to accomplish in the middle east, that is, imposing liberty and individual rights on people who don't want it! Indeed considering the broad reach of the current judicial interpretation of the fourteenth amendment, all the bigoted state reps should just go home and allow the feds, banks, Hollywood and global corporations to impose the kind of liberty we all truly need! its mostly done now anyways.
  • Thanks for taking a stand
    I have been a practicing attorney for 25 years in Indiana. Thank you Indianapolis Bar Association for taking a public stand against HJR3. A small group of Indiana legislators should not be able to impose their personal views on the citizens of Indiana through a proposed amendment to the state constitution.
    • HJR-3
      OUTSTANDING!!!This legislation, in addition to attempting to enshrine bigotry in the state constitution, literally does nothing. There is no penalty for people who flagrantly defy its terms, and, to the extent it attempts to invalidate property agreements between consenting, competent adult, is a complete anathema to Constitutional democracy.

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    1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

    2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

    3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

    4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

    5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?