Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

December 20, 2013

BRIAN HOWEY: If you believe in marriage amendment, then own it

When voters decide, they often get it wrong.

(Continued)

We are only a year past the 2012 U.S. Senate race, which cost $51 million. It ignores the lesson where Dick Lugar, Richard Mourdock and Joe Donnelly essentially lost control of their campaigns and messaging, as more than $30 million of national money spilled into the state from an array of special interest groups.

While job creation is largely agreed upon as the most emphatic mission at hand, the nation and world will get a front-row seat to division and policy that half the population supports, and the other half finds regressive. HJR-6 will be debated in the Indiana General Assembly between January and March during a political lull across the nation. America’s eyes will be affixed to the Hoosier State.

The second aspect of “let the people decide” is that the people don’t always get it right.

Imagine in 1953 the General Assembly attempting to write the Supreme Court decision Plessy vs. Ferguson into law. This was the 1896 ruling that affirmed the notion of separate-but-equal schools for blacks and whites. In that era of our history, a black legislator from The Region or South Bend couldn’t even find an Indiana restaurant to eat in on the way to the Statehouse.

There probably would have been ample support for a separate-but-equal amendment to our state constitution a year before the high court’s Brown vs. Board of Education overturned the notion and set in motion the American civil rights movement.

Howard County Republican Chairman Craig Dunn writes of anti-miscegenation laws, which outlawed marriage between the races. A national poll in 1958 found 98 percent of the American people to be against interracial marriage. The Indiana General Assembly wouldn’t abolish those laws until 1965, two years in advance of a Supreme Court ruling that did the same.

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