Friday, January 24, 2014

Upland opposes HJR-3. So does NABC. So should BIG.

I'd like to thank our longtime friends at Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington for understanding that beer isn't consumed in a vacuum, and publicly joining the struggle against HJR-3.

What is HJR-3?

HJR-3 (formerly HJR-6) is a proposed amendment that would permanently alter the Indiana Constitution to define marriage and could potentially affect hundreds of rights related to marriage under current Indiana law.

In the 2014 legislative session, Indiana lawmakers can choose either to table or vote down the amendment or send it to voters for a statewide referendum next November. If it does not pass or is not called for action, our Constitution will be protected.

In addition to the duplicative and restrictive first sentence of the amendment, no one has been able to clearly define what effects the second sentence would have on existing marriages, domestic partner benefits, human rights ordinances, legal contracts and benefits for unmarried couples.

As a progressive beer guy, it's a confusing time for me.

Republican legislators have been quite friendly when it comes to advancing the interests of craft brewing in Indiana, among them New Albany's own Rep. Ed Clere (District 72). At the same time, the very notion of HJR-3 is potentially damaging to businesses like ours. Rep. Clere is rare among Republicans in that he has opposed HJR-3, and for this we're appreciative. His colleagues supporting HJR-3 are doing so against the wishes of businesses far larger than any brewery, including Eli Lilly and Cummins.

That's right: Republicans legislating against the interests of Indiana business. Verily, it is a strange world we inhabit.

It's my view that if this madness goes to the voters, the Brewers of Indiana Guild as a whole should publicly and emphatically reject it. Upland currently does not have a director on the board, so I'll happily be the one to make the motion. Let's hope it doesn't come to this, and the Indiana GOP somehow becomes reacquainted with the notion of sanity.

Moreover, if craft beer doesn't embrace what's right and reject what's wrong, why are we bothering?

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