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Indy Star Poll Raises Doubts For HJR 3

Posted On January 27, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

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Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Though a marriage amendment sailed through an Indiana House committee last week, it’s fate in the full House appears much less certain based on a poll of lawmakers.

The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday that only 38 House lawmakers said they will vote for House Joint Resolution 3, the amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Another 38 said they will vote against it.

HJR 3 needs at least 51 votes to be sent across the hall to the Indiana Senate, or die after a process that began four years ago. In 2011, the amendment passed the House easily with a vote of 70-26. In Indiana, a state constitutional amendment must pass two separately elected legislatures then earn approval from voters statewide.

According to The Star, the remaining votes will be key. Thirteen other state representatives said they were undecided while 11 refused to tell the newspaper how they will vote on HJR 3. Eleven of the 13 undecideds were Republicans.

A vote in the House is expected as soon as Monday. State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) voted for the amendment in 2011 and says he will do so again given the opportunity.

“I believe marriage is between one man and one woman but ultimately I believe it should be up to the people of Indiana to make the decision.  Passing the marriage amendment by the general assembly will allow the amendment to be placed on the November ballot for all Hoosiers to decide its fate,” Frye said Monday.

Another local state representative, Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), also says his position hasn’t changed and he’ll be voting for HJR 3.

“(HJR 3) does not make any changes to the law. What it does is give every Hoosier the opportunity to vote as to whether our State Constitution should include a definition of marriage as being only between one man and one woman. This is an issue that is deeply personal to a lot of people on both sides. When it comes to something like this I think that the decision for the State should be made by every Hoosier. So with that in mind, I will be voting to give everyone a chance to vote on this in the fall,” McMillin said.

Other HJR 3 supporters say that while Indiana law already prohibits same-sex marriage, the amendment is needed to ensure the courts don’t throw out the law.

For some lawmakers, the HJR 3 and marriage equality debate has truly hit home. The gay son of State Rep. Milo Smith (R-Columbus) says he is “disappointed” that his dad supports a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.  Over the weekend, Chris Smith wrote on the Indiana Equality Facebook page that his father isn’t going to change his beliefs if he hasn’t done so yet.

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