(image courtesy of Advance America)
One of Indiana's most outspoken opponents of same-sex marriage hopes lawmakers will continue to pursue a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, regardless of what a federal appeals court rules.
"There is no reason not (to push the amendment)," said Eric Miller, founder of the conservative group Advance America. "The other side that supports homosexual marriage should join us in that request, because they ought to say that this is a decision that should be made by the people of the state of Indiana." The amendment passed the General Assembly this year, but it has to pass again because it was amended from the previous time that it passed - language was removed that would have also banned same-sex civil unions in the state.
Miller says Tuesday's hearing before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is important for churches and families across the state, repeating what he has said in the past what he thinks will happen if same-sex couples are allowed to marry. "Children will be taught, beginning in elementary school, that homosexual marriages are normal and acceptable, and that homosexuality - sex between two men and two women - is normal and acceptable," Miller said. He also believes it would lead to the passing of new hate crimes laws that could target those who criticize gay people, including church pastors, "which could place a pastor in jail or have him fined or a lawsuit enacted against them if they merely teach what the Bible says that marriage ought to be between one man and one woman."
22 churches and other houses of worship held services on Sunday expressing their support for same-sex couples and their right to marry. Miller is among those with a different interpretation of the Bible. "I believe the Bible is clear. The Bible has historically been interpreted that marriage is to be between one man and one woman." But Miller also thinks the case goes beyond religion and directly to the right of states and their voters. "Should an unelected federal judge be able to legalize homosexual marriages, something that has never taken place, or is this a decision that should be made by the people of the state of Indiana?"
Rep. Eric Turner (R, Cicero), who wrote the marriage amendment for the legislature, was unavailable for comment.
LISTEN: My full interview with Eric Miller of Advance America: