Senate Won’t Restore HJR 3 To Original Form; Amendment Delayed
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – It is now certain that a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage will not be on the Indiana ballot in November.
The Indiana Senate decided Thursday not to try to restore the second sentence to HJR 3. The language in the second line of the proposed constitutional amendment would have banned same-sex civil unions.
About two weeks ago, lawmakers in the House voted to remove the sentence. The change was needed to gain enough Republican support from the bill to move it through the House.
The Senate will hold a final vote on Monday and if it passes, the measure which now only bans same-sex marriages will move forward for consideration in future General Assemblies. Now, 2016 is the earliest year it could go to Hoosier voters.
The decision prompted a pep rally from HJR 3 opponents and members of anti-amendment PAC Freedom Indiana at the state capital. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) called it a win for those against the constitutional ban.
“Let’s hope that cooler heads will prevail, that there will be a recognition that the future of Indiana does not include and cannot and shall not include discrimination in our constitution,” Lanane said.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence said in his State of the State address in early January that he wanted a decision on the marriage amendment this year. Though it still may happen eventually, stopping the marriage amendment this year is considered by Freedom Indiana campsign director Megan Robertson as a major victory.
“Six months ago, if you’d said lawmakers would refuse to put this issue on the ballot in 2014 by stripping out the deeply flawed second sentence, I’d have said there’s no way,” Robertson said.
“What happened today at the Statehouse is a testament to the tens of thousands of Hoosiers who have shared their stories with lawmakers and with the public to show the harm this amendment would do to their families and our state. It’s clear that lawmakers listened.
Robertson said she was glad that Indiana’s lawmakers were open and transparent during the amendment process. She also said that lawmakers conducted the discourse in a civil, respectful manner.
However, HJR 3 supporters plan to make the amendment’s delay an issue in upcoming elections for both Dmeocrats and Republicans.
“We will be back next year, pushing to take this issue to the people of Indiana,” Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, told The Indianapolis Star.