Thursday, the Indiana Senate agreed with the House and advanced for final consideration an amended version of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban the freedom to marry. In so doing, the Senate removed some of the harmful language that would have banned all forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples in the state, while leaving intact a proposed ban on couples seeking to marry. Only passage of the original bill without amendment would result in its going on the ballot for ratification in November of this year; this action means the multi-year constitutional amendment process starts all over.
“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,” Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan 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.”
“Today’s action is a welcome step back from the brink, ensuring that Indiana’s families will not be subjected to a harsh campaign that would add cruel and unconstitutional language to Indiana’s state constitution this November. This reflects the growing momentum for the freedom to marry the person you love, and a repudiation of the effort to strip gay Hoosiers and their families of legal protections and respect,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
Wolfson added, “This constitutional amendment it still is a deeply flawed and unconstitutional measure that merits defeat and we urge the Senate to do the right thing and put an end to this misguided measure. Freedom to Marry will continue working alongside Freedom Indiana and our coalition partners through the end of this legislative session to try to persuade lawmakers to listen to the voices of families, business leaders, and others who want to see Indiana on the right side of history.”