House Votes to Change HJR-3

Jan 28, 2014

The empty chambers of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers Monday voted to remove a portion of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.  The change would also restart the ratification process.

Twenty-three Republicans joined 29 Democrats to approve an amendment offered by West Lafayette Republican Representative Randy Truitt removing HJR-3’s second sentence, a portion that banned legal statuses “substantially similar” to marriage. 

Some had expressed concerns the second sentence would prohibit the ability to offer domestic partnership benefits.  A companion bill was filed this session seeking to clarify that would not be the case. 

Hartford City Republican Kevin Mahan says while he supports HJR-3’s ban on same sex marriage, the companion bill doesn’t make anything clearer.

“If we cannot understand in this body exactly what that second sentence means, how can we expect millions of Hoosiers to understand what it means when they go to the polls in November?” Mahan said.

Truitt’s change also pushed back ratification of the amendment, requiring the General Assembly to approve it this year and in either 2015 or 2016 in order to place it on the ballot in November of 2016. 

Whiteland Republican Woody Burton disagreed with that move and says his constituents want to weigh in this year.

“Let them make the decision,” Burton said. “Let’s get this thing moving, let’s move it along as it is and let’s get the voters the opportunity to vote.”

HJR-3 is now eligible for passage by the House.  If approved, it would head to the Senate, where lawmakers could undo the House’s change.