Thursday, June 27, 2013

House Leader Pelath's Response to DOMA Overturn

Here is a message from House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath regarding the Supreme Court's overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act.
“For many years, Republicans argued that nothing was more important than preventing marriage equality. Many Democrats, including me, argued that the prosperity of our workers was pre-eminent. Today, there was vindication of Democratic priorities.

At the same time, I am embarrassed for those who continue to press the case for inequality. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. The federal Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional. Public support for marriage equality continues to grow at a time when any legal justification for inequality is withering. The time has come for Indiana lawmakers to pour their energies into helping our state’s struggling middle class. There is no need to muddy up our state’s highest document with an amendment that is likely to be a blemish on Indiana’s history. A number of states now have marriage equality. From them, we have learned several things. Families remain important. People still practice the Golden Rule. And folks have a lot greater concerns than who loves whom.

We have many problems in the state of unemployment rate that continues to hover over 8 percent, families scrambling to make ends meet, and public schools trying to do more with less. We need to fight for changes that make people’s lives better, not waste our people’s vitality on more division.”
Note the contrast to Gov. Pence's bleak statement of yesterday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pence Views Marriage Equality Decisions as Incentive for Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment

While we're all celebrating the Supreme Court's historic decisions on marriage equality, here is Governor Pence's predictably narrow-minded (yet deeply disappointing)response, courtesy of Pride Lafayette's Facebook page:

"While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, I am grateful that today's decisions respect the sovereignty of states on this important issue. These decisions preserve the duty and obligation of the states to define and administer marriage as they see fit.

"Now that the Supreme Court has had its say on the federal government's role in defining marriage, the people of Indiana should have their say about how marriage is understood and defined in our state.

"Given that opportunity, I am confident that Hoosiers will reaffirm our commitment to traditional marriage and will consider this important question with civility and respect for the values and dignity of all of the people of our state.

"I look forward to supporting efforts by members of the Indiana General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voter consideration next year."

If the Governor thinks that the decisions today give the green light to further restrictions on gay marriage in the states, we'd suggest that he may have another think coming. If he wants to keep Indiana on the wrong side of the arc of history and justice, he is doing his state no favor. Even if principles of fairness and justice fail to move him and his fellow super-conservatives, how long will it be before the Indiana business community will become concerned about the loss of talented gay Hoosier couples who will desert our state for others where they can marry and enjoy the legal benefits of full marital status? Or about entrepreneurs who will never start a business in our state because of its blatant discrimination against gay citizens?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Purdue Okay with Court's Decision on Race in Admissions

Purdue' officials seem to regard the Supreme Court's ruling on race in university admission decisions as maintaining the status quo. The Court left standing the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision in which justices decided that race can be one factor in holistic admissions decisions made by higher education institutions. The Journal and Courier summarizes Purdue's position as follows:
"That’s exactly what Purdue, which admits applicants using criteria including race, an applicant’s background and experiences, academic performance, class rank, SAT or ACT scores and admissions essays, was hoping for. 'Grutter appears to still be good law,' said Steven Schultz, Purdue’s in-house legal counsel. 'We believe there’s value in the current approach.'"

Read more about responses to the ruling from Purdue and IU here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Superintendent Ritz Visits Lafayette

As part of her series of 17 meetings on classroom technology, State Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz visited Tecumseh Junior High to meet with educators, city leaders and lawmakers to discuss the future of education. "We're having the schools' needs drive the resources and that's what we want," Ritz explained. "We want to be sure that we know their needs so we can provide resources and help them get what they need to make sure that they're improving." Read more about Ritz's visit here.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Planned Parenthood

It appears that an Appeals Court ruling striking down an Indiana law blocking women in the state Medicaid program from obtaining preventive health care services at Planned Parenthood health centers will stand. The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to it. Jane Henegar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana, was gratified by the Supreme Court's decision: “Federal law protects the right of Medicaid patients to choose a health care provider free of interference from the State.”

Governor Pence is not done with the issue, as reported by the Indianapois Star: "Gov. Mike Pence, a fierce opponent of Planned Parenthood during his time in Congress, said Tuesday that he’ll decide what to do after viewing his legal options. Pence said he’s disappointed in the ruling and he continues to feel strongly that taxpayers should not be required to support what he calls 'the largest abortion provider in America.'"

Read more here.