Those attending the Indiana House Judiciary Committee's hearing on a same sex marriage ban erupted into laughter on Monday when one of the speakers claimed that opponents of the ban were "intolerant."
Jim Bopp, an anti-LGBT attorney who was forced out as Indiana's representative to the Republican National Committee in 2012, told the committee that he was perplexed as to why opponents would be against a constitutional ban if same sex marriage was already illegal in Indiana.
"It can only be because [the existing ban is] vulnerable," he insisted. "They want the option of getting what they actually want, which is to change the definition marriage. And the very vulnerability of a statute as opposed to a constitutional amendment affords them a greater opportunity to get that job done."
"Even more troubling though was an argument made by one who said that the simple debate on the marriage amendment will do the damage," Bopp added. "Well, what does that tell you? That there are some people that are so intolerant of other people's views that a simple debate..."
With that, the chairman was forced to call the committee to order as the gallery burst into laughter.
"A simple debate about the question offends them to the extent that they want to leave the state," Bopp said. "And even more troubling than that, it's a direct attack upon democracy."
Kellie Fiedorek, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that the "government is in the marriage business to preserve the family and to ensure, wherever possible, that children do not grow up in motherless and fatherless homes."
"If the government were to license every committed, loving relationship, licenses would be issued to an infinite number of loving, committed relationships between any number of persons," she declared.
But when state Rep. Vernon Smith (D) asked Fiedorek for her personal definition of marriage, she refused to answer.
"What should we do with those couples that decide they don't want to give birth to children?" Smith wondered.
"The only relationship that can naturally produce children is that between a man and a woman," Fiedorek noted. "There are situations where they may not want to have children, maybe they cannot have children. But the union of one man and one woman still furthers the ideal that children, when that happens, will be born into homes with a mom and a dad."
"You know, I had a mom and a dad and I wish my dad wasn't there, the way he acted in my household," Smith pointed out.