Monday the Indiana House of Representatives amended HJR-3, a resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples in Indiana. The House voted in favor of the amendment 52-43, removing a provision that banned “civil unions or other similar arrangements.”
The amended resolution could be voted on in the House as soon as Tuesday afternoon. If passed, the resolution moves to the Senate. If the Senate approves the amended resolution, it would still have to pass in the 2015 or 2016 legislative session before reaching the ballot.
“We are relieved that, at least for now, discrimination will not be enshrined into Indiana constitution. Indiana law already prohibits marriage for same-sex couples, and this effort is cruel and unnecessary. Same-sex couples and their children in Indiana need the dignity and protections of marriage, and shouldn’t have to see their lives deemed as less worthy of respect or recognition than other families,” said Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor. “We congratulate the hard work of Freedom Indiana and the hundreds of Hoosiers that have fought so hard for fairness and equality. We are hopeful that this resolution, that seeks to harm gay and lesbian couples and their children, will be defeated or at least delayed by the Indiana Senate.”
Only passage of the original bill without amendment would result in its going on the ballot for ratification in November of this year; an amendment starts the multi-year constitutional amendment process all over.
“[Monday’s] vote to remove some of the extremist language in the proposed constitutional ban on marriage in Indiana is a welcome step back from the brink. This offers the possibility that Indiana’s families will not be subjected to a harsh campaign and offensive ballot-measure that would add cruel and unconstitutional language to Indiana’s state constitution. The support that we saw today from Indiana legislators—including Republicans—and the success in achieving this vote reflected 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 all legal protection and respect,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
He added, “While the amended bill represents an improvement on what the Speaker tried to railroad through, even by changing committees and twisting arms, it still is a deeply flawed and unconstitutional measure that merits defeat. So there is much more to do. 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.”