Indiana needs to give up marriage fight

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz

Sept. 5 will mark my fifth wedding anniversary to the Lovely Mrs. Shabazz. And I am happy to report that all presents have been purchased and evening plans put in place. I do that for two reasons. First, I love my wife and she is absolutely amazing, as well as patient. Second, keeping her happy resolves a multitude of issues. As my retired military father told me before I got married, “Son, before you pick a fight or an argument with that bride of yours, ask yourself if this is really the hill you want to die on today?” If I were the state of Indiana, I’d give up the fight over same-sex marriage because this hill is not worth dying on.

On Aug. 26, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments as to whether the state’s law banning same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. And while you never want to read too much into a panel’s questions, after listening to the audio of the hearing several times it reaffirmed my belief that the state has always had a steeper hill to climb in this fight.

Yes, states have always had the traditional role of defining marriage, but that power comes to a screeching halt when it runs head on into the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. And the three-panel court seemed very skeptical of the argument that same-sex marriage should be illegal in order to make sure that children are raised in stable households. I particularly thought it was telling when one judge asked why the state would want to prohibit gay couples from marrying, but allow them to adopt children.

And it wasn’t just Tuesday’s oral arguments that gave me pause. If you take a look around the country with the marriage equality issue, opponents of same-sex marriage haven’t been faring too well. According to Freedom to Marry, since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June, supporters of marriage equality have chalked up 38 wins. Twenty-two rulings have been issued in federal court, 13 have been issued in state court, and three have been issued by a federal appellate court. To the best of my knowledge, only one court has upheld a state’s ban on same-sex marriage and that was a Tennessee state judge.

If you oppose same-sex marriage that’s not a legal track record to be proud of.

I fully understand and support a state’s right to defend its laws. However, with the way things have gone as of late, it might be best to take a page out of the Chicago Cubs playbook and accept the inevitability of defeat.

As I have stated before, same-sex marriage doesn’t infringe on my liberty, property or freedom, so I have a hard time getting worked up over it. I am also very secure in my sexual identity so I don’t spend all day complaining and obsessing over what my neighbors do behind closed doors. I also don’t worry about someone trying to use this ruling to marry their pet iguana or trying to engage in polygamy with an exponent because those arguments are just silly. But for those of you want polygamy, if you truly feed a need to sexually disappoint more than one woman at a time, knock yourself out.

And to be frank, if the critics of same-sex marriage would spend as much time working on their own marriages as they do freaking out over someone else’s, maybe they could live happily ever after too. Or better yet, just go ahead, give up this fight and legalize same-sex marriage so those couples can be just as happy as my wife will be in a few days.

Abdul is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets. He can be reached at


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