HJR 3 Hearing, Rally Brings Crowd To Statehouse
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Opponents of Indiana’s controversial marriage amendment rallied at the statehouse in Indianapolis Monday as the legislation prepares to clear its first hurdle.
House Joint Resolution 3 – formerly House Joint Resolution 6 – would change Indiana’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The legislation has to pass the Indiana legislature this year and then a statewide vote in November to become part of the constitution.
The House Judiciary Committee didn’t vote on the amendment or companion legisltation House Bill 1153. Committee chairman Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) said he wanted to give members time to consider their vote after hearing close to four hours of testimony from both opponents and supporters.
Jac-Cen-Del High School graduate Stephen F. Fry, now Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Diversity with Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly Company, spoke on behalf of the company at the hearing. He said Lilly opposes the amendment for economic reasons.
“This is about Indiana being competitive in a business environment,” Fry said, adding that Indiana needs leverage versus other states in order to keep the best employees.
Representatives of Indiana University, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations spoke out against the amendment, fearing employee retainment and potential lawsuits.
Supporters of HJR 3 who spoke said that the constitutional amendment would give Hoosiers the chance to vote on a clear definition of marriage.
Others said it would prevent courts – specifically the Indiana Supreme Court – from overturning an Indiana law which already bans gay marriage. State Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) told the committee that Indiana is one of only four states – the others Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming – where same sex marriage is only banned by state statute.
Anti-HJR 3 organization Freedom Indiana organized a rally at the Statehouse during the committee hearing and continuing into the evening. Megan Robertson, the political action committee’s campaign manager, said Hoosiers opposed to the amendment have written 15,000 letters and made thousands of phone calls to lawmakers.
“We will continue our efforts and hope that we can stop this amendment sooner rather than later to protect Hoosier families and make it clear that our state is a welcoming place,” Robertson said.
It is not known when the Judiciary Committee will reconvene again to possibly vote on HJR 3.
State Representative Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) is a member of the committee. He voted for the amendment in 2011 and has indicated he will do so again this year.