Monday, February 17, 2014

HJR-3 Passes Senate

The proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage in Indiana passed the state Senate by a vote of 32 to 17. Five Republicans joined 12 Democrats in voting against it. The Senate did not restore the second sentence of the original amendment, which banned any benefits for civil unions, which means that the amendment must be approved by another session of the General Assembly before any ratification vote by citizens. Thus, amendment will not be part of the 2014 election ballot; the soonest it could appear would be the 2016 ballot.

Megan Robertson, campaign director of Freedom Indiana, said, “We can finally breathe a collective sign of relief that lawmakers are finished with the amendment this session and it will not appear on the ballot this November.” Robertson said the amendment's opponents were "underdogs" and expressed pride in their efforts: "Our success reflects the strength of the incredible coalition we were able to build in just six months." Read more about the vote from the J&C here.

A footnote: Senator Mike Delph, an HJR-3 supporter who'd been tweeting incessantly about it and the failure of Republicans to retain the second sentence, had promised a surprising announcement today, and delivered one in an impromptu news conference before the vote: he said he would vote against the amendment if the second sentence was not restored. It wasn't and he did. Delph explained, "The can keeps getting kicked down the road while culture change grows. The state of Indiana needs to bring this issue to closure once and for all. We shouldn't put the state through this debate for the next several years." Sadly, 32 of his colleagues did not agree, and we'll confront this issue again in the next General Assembly, but hopefully in the context of the powerful "culture change" Sen. Delph seems to fear. Read more about Delph's position here.