Senate Panel Passes HJR 3 On 8-4 Vote
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – It’s another step forward for a proposed marriage amendment for the Indiana constitution, which many will argue is a step backwards for Indiana.
The Senate Rules Committee on Monday voted 8-4 in favor of House Joint Resolution 3. The bill which would put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution now heads to the Senate floor. A reading could occur as soon as Thursday.
Monday’s vote came after three hours of testimony on the proposal.
A supporter of HJR-3 says she wants the second sentence relating to civil unions put back in the proposal. That sentence was removed by lawmakers in the House before its passage there. If the language is not put back into the amendment, it will delay a vote on the amendment until after 2014.
“Whether you agree with it or not, put the language back into our state constitution and give us the right to vote on marriage this November,” said Pastor Wayne Harris of Evansville. “The government, the church, the gay community and any other organization is not qualified ot undo what God has already defined as marriage.”
An opponent of HJR 3 says the battle for same-sex marriage is personal for him because his daughter is gay.
“She deals with the emotional strain of knowing that she is not accepted by her home state and by many within our society. This takes a toll,” the father said.
HJR 3’s potential economic impact in Indiana was the concern from organizations such as Cummins Inc., Indiana University, and Eli Lilly Company. Lilly executive Stephen Fry, a Jac-Cen-Del High School graduate who also addressed HJR 3 when it was considered by a House committee, testified to the Senate committee.
“In our judgment, HJR 3 undermines the idea of ‘Hoosier hospitality.’ In fact, it sends signals that Indiana is not a fully welcoming place,” Fry said.
Megan Robertson, campaign manager for anti-HJR 3 political action committee Freedom Indiana, said while other neighboring states – such as Illinois – are moving the opposite direction on the gay marriage issue, Indiana will be put at an economic disadvantage.
“The addition of these job creators to our Employers for Freedom coalition signals continued opposition to this harmful amendment,” said Robertson. “Companies large and small are voicing their opposition to HJR-3 because it will make it more difficult to recruit top talent to our state, and a divisive statewide ballot initiative would hurt our reputation nationally.”
House Joint Resolution 3 gained a new vocal opponent Monday. The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, has released a statement saying it is against HJR 3. The NCAA said that it is not planning further action if the controversial measure happens to pass the legislature and is approved by Indiana voters.