Marriage Amendments Introduced in Wyoming and Indiana

Yesterday was a busy day for anti-marriage equality advocates, with constitutional amendments being introduced in two states. 

First in Indiana, where the Alliance Defense Fund, the Family Research Council, and the Indiana Family Institute joined state legislators in announcing their efforts to pass an amendment after a similar effort failed in 2007.  As FRC ‘s Tony Perkins explained:

Legislators in Indiana, one of the minority of states that has yet to pass a marriage protection amendment, renewed their effort today by introducing a new amendment to the state’s constitution. I was on hand today in Indianapolis as lawmakers vowed to put the Hoosier state in the column with the 29 other states that have taken marriage out of the hands of activist judges. An amendment was narrowly defeated in the General Assembly in 2007. This afternoon, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) joined me for a private pastors briefing in the Indiana Supreme Court Chambers. Mike has been a good friend and solid ally on this issue in the U.S. House, and with his help, Indiana churches stand to bring a victory for marriage to his home state.

After a House and Senate meet-and-greet with key Indiana lawmakers, I joined amendment sponsors State Reps. P. Eric Turner (R-Marion) and Dave Cheatham (D-North Vernon), Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund, and Pastor Ron Johnson Jr. for a press conference in the state Capitol on the importance of the constitutional amendment to the state.

And trying to make up for another effort that also failed two years ago, a similar group of legislators and Religious Right activists in Wyoming are gearing up to pass their own amendment, all while absurdly trying to insist that the effort is in no way motivated by any animus toward gays:

Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange, one of the bill’s sponsors, said Monday that the issue came to the forefront in the last election cycle, when voters in California voted to ban same-sex marriage. Meier said many Wyoming residents approached their lawmakers to find the status of the law in Wyoming.

Meier said the proposal to change Wyoming’s constitution isn’t motivated by any dislike of gays and lesbians.

“I really think what we’re trying to do is protect the institution of marriage, and trying to make the family unit as strong as it can be for the future,” he said.

A newly formed group called WyWatch Family Institute is lobbying for passage of the proposed amendment. The group’s Web site describes it as a “group of Judeo-Christian families who have a goal to preserve traditional family values in the great state of Wyoming.”

The group is getting advice from Focus on the Family Action, and the Alliance Defense Fund, said Becky Vandeberghe, chairwoman and lobbyist with the Wyoming group. Focus on the Family is a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based evangelical group founded by evangelist James Dobson, while the Alliance Defense Fund is an Arizona-based conservative Christian legal group.

“We’re trying to protect the children, because when you have a same-sex marriage, you’re denying that child either a mother or a father,” Vandeberghe said. “And the family unit is very, very precious to us, and we want to make sure that every child has that.”

Asked whether her group is motivated by any religious conviction that homosexuality is wrong or immoral, Vandeberghe said, “It plays a small part in it. But a large part is just wanting to protect traditional marriage.”