Meanwhile, DePauw University student Mickey Terlep has quietly worked the halls of the Statehouse, delivering research that shows the history of alterations to the state's constitution. He did the research with fellow DePauw student Leif Anderson.
Carrying a chart of alterations to the state constitution since it was written in 1851, Terlep outlined how changes for many years consisted of conforming with federal amendments (such as granting African-Americans and women the right to vote) or altering the structure of government (such as allowing governors to serve two consecutive terms.)
But Terlep says lawmakers increasingly use the state's constitution to write laws instead of following the traditional process of passing bills through the House and Senate on their way to the governor's desk and eventually the state code.
“This transformation raises the question: 'Why have lawmakers sought to use constitutional amendments as a means for enacting specific public policies?'” Terlep told members of the House Elections and Apportionment Committee last week. A few minutes later the committee voted 9-3 along party lines to send the proposal to the House for consideration.
State law already bans gay marriage. Placing that ban in the constitution would protect it from changes by future lawmakers or state courts, but would falter before any U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“I believe (House Joint Resolution 3) is an example, along with other amendments such as the property tax cap … of the older generation attempting to lock in their views and impose them upon my generation,” Terlep said last week.