Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Indiana GOP criminalizes gay marriage, sends clergy to jail? (Updated)

This is quite astonishing. It can't be Constitutional, either.
In what appears to be a rather massive violation of the freedom of religion, the Republican party in Indiana appears to have amended the state criminal code to either make it a crime, or confirm that it remain a crime, for clergy to conduct weddings for gay couples. ...
The amendment to the criminal code, which will go into effect on July 1, 2014, makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 for clergy “solemnize” a marriage of two men or two women.
Just think:  in Indiana, our dear friend who performed our wedding, and the priests (yes, plural) who subsequently performed our blessing, could all be imprisoned.
A successful effort by the Indiana Republican party, which controls the state House and Senate, to legislate the permitted, and banned, practices of Jews, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and other mainstream faiths would appear to fly smack in the face of ongoing religious right efforts to brand the civil rights of gays as a threat to religion. In fact, it is anti-gay bigots who are now threatening to throw mainstream clergy in jail for simply practicing their faith.
As I've asked before:  just whose religious freedom are we talking about?

More here.

Updated:  Bilerico explains that this is procedural updates of existing laws (H/T Episcopal Cafe).
This new concern doesn't stem from new law, but the confluence of a 1997 law criminalizing false information on a marriage application, the 2003 law banning same-sex marriage in Indiana, and the slow-moving modernization efforts, which have been ongoing for nearly a decade (and which has not rolled out to all of Indiana's 92 counties.) 
What this incident actually proves is a bigger point about how these marriage bans are mean-spirited and discriminatory in addition to not being well thought out. It says a lot about the unintended consequences of such laws when two loving people, who simply want to share a life together, have to worry about potentially breaking the law just to ask to be married. 
Still the intent is clearly to demean and threaten LGBT people and their allies.  If Indiana is embarrassed at the bad press, well, they should be

1 comment:

Erp said...

As far as I know there are three parts to getting married

1. Getting a license from the government.
2. Getting the marriage solemnized.
3. Filing the documents with the state

Now is Indiana trying to criminalize non-state recognized marriages where all parties know that the ceremony is strictly religious (e.g., the couple legally gets civilly married in a state where they can but then have a marriage ceremony according to the rites of their religion in Indiana [much like all religious wedding ceremonies in France]). Or is this just hot air from right wing politicians who know the situation is impossible (first the state would have to issue a license to two people legally of the same sex).