The House of Representatives approved the amended version of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
The House voted Monday to alter HJR-3, taking out the measure’s controversial second sentence banning civil unions. That version of the amendment passed the House by a comfortable margin today, 57-40. The change also restarts the ratification process, potentially putting it on the ballot in 2016, instead of this fall.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says simply removing the second sentence isn’t enough.
“Fact is, we have not dismantled this bomb,” he says. “We’ve simply placed a longer fuse on it before it detonates in all of our faces.”
Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, the measure’s author, says even without the second sentence, HJR-3 is necessary to protect the state’s existing statute defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
“We know from experience that states without constitutional protection run the risk of a state court changing the will of the people, the will of the legislature,” he says.
Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, says HJR-3’s opponents got enough when the second sentence was removed.
“Where do we say it’s time to draw the line in the sand and say, now look, these people want to live a life style?” he says. “This is their right. It’s not my job to judge them; my faith tells me that somebody else higher up’s going to judge people other than me so I don’t pass judgment on anybody. But I do say that there’s some times when they’re trying to force some type of an object on us, on everybody else, that the people have a right to speak.”
But Rep. Matt Pierce says, D-Bloomington, lawmakers weren’t elected to be a conveyor belt for constitutional amendments.
“We are given the job not of saying, ‘Here’s the choice for you to make, people.’ Our job is to say, ‘We think the constitution is worthy of being amended in this way,’” he says.
The amended version of HJR-3 now heads to the Senate, where the second sentence could be reinserted.