Ind. Marriage Amendment Has New Name: HJR 3
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – The controversial Indiana marriage amendment House Joint Resolution 6 is now House Joint Resolution 3.
What had been known as HJR 6 – the proposed Indiana constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman – was changed to HJR 3 as bills were filed in the Republican-controlled Indiana House Tuesday morning. The amendment bill was set to the House Judiciary Committee, of which State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) is a member.
HJR 6 passed the 2011 legislative session and must do so again in 2014 before it can go to Indiana voters in November. The bill has a different title, but it contains the exact same language, preventing the need for the amendment process to start over.
Republicans may also push a new “explanation” bill for HJR 3. The 73-line House Bill 1153 specifies lawmakers’ intent of the 12-line amendment.
If there were to be a lawsuit filed over HJR 3, HB 1153 would give courts and voters guidance, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) told reporters.
Freedom Indiana is the political action committee opposed to HJR 3. The organization seeking to explain away the ambiguity and potential harm of the amendment’s second sentence: “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
“Supporters of the amendment seem to finally understand that the language they want to permanently insert into our state’s founding document is deeply flawed,” Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan Robertson said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, instead of addressing the amendment’s defects through proper channels, they’re trying to sidestep and obfuscate the process by introducing a bill they think explains away the potential harm to Hoosier families. The bill is as troublesome as the amendment itself, which was renumbered to further confuse Hoosiers.”
The renaming of HJR 3 may be a strategic move to counter literature, advertising, yard signs, or bumper stickers which urged lawmakers and voters to defeat “HJR 6.”
House Republicans laid out their top five legislative priorities in a speech by Bosma on Wednesday. The list did not include the marriage amendment.
Democrats in the House and Senate continue to ask that the amendment be scrapped so lawmakers can concentrate on non-divisive issues.