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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.


 

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  • 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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

    2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

    3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

    4. I am sorry to hear this.

    5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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