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Committee Sends HJR-3 To Indiana House For Vote

  • freedom indiana

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    Photo: Bill Shaw

    Supporters of Freedom Indiana in red attend a hearing for HJR-3.

  • Eric Turner

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    Photo: Bill Shaw

    Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, introduces HJR-3 to the Elections Committee.

A House committee has approved House Joint Resolution-3, a measure that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

The amendment and its companion bill was moved to the Elections Committee yesterday in a move House Speaker Brian Bosma said was aimed at getting the measures out of committee and to the full House floor.

After more than four hours of testimony at a hearing today, the Elections Committee passed the measure with a 9-3 vote down party lines.

All Republicans voted in favor of the amendment. Three Democrats voted against it, and another Democrat was absent due to a family emergency.

The committee also passed a companion bill meant to clarify the language of the amendment with the same 9-3 vote.

Here’s how the vote broke down:


Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis

Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes

Rep. Phillip GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne


Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus (committee chair)

Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland

Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville

Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola

Rep. Jeffery Thompson, R-Lizton

Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso

Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne

Rep. Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville


Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin


During his vote, Rep. Tim Wescom, R-Osceola, was clear: he says marriage is between a man and a woman.

“I believe the people of Indiana are demanding the right to vote on whether to put that in their constitution,” he said. “I vote yes.”

Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, who voted for the amendment in 2011, says he came into the hearing undecided. He says his decision to vote no came down to thinking about the public campaign that will ensue if the amendment goes to the ballot for voters to approve in November.

“When your children or when my grandchildren have to watch the ads that are going to be on TV, are you going to be proud? Are we going to be proud, as a body, of that?” he asked before his no vote.

Immediately after the vote passed, Freedom Indiana, the bi-partisan grassroots coalition formed to oppose the amendment, sent out an email vowing to continue fighting the measure.

“Let’s make one thing clear: today’s vote isn’t proof that support for HJR-3 is on the rise — and it certainly isn’t a testament to the legislative process our opponents promised repeatedly to respect,” the email read.

Changes To Amendment Still Possible

The measure heads to the full House, but it could still face some hurdles.

There are two sentences in HJR-3. The first defines marriage as between one man and one woman.  The second bans any legal status “substantially similar” to marriage.

Legal experts disagree on what the consequences of that second sentence could be.  

Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, voted for the amendment, but he says he has problems with the second sentence.

“The caucus really wanted this to come to the floor,” he said. “I can understand that. I can also understand the first part of it and the proponents’ arguments as to protection against judicial determination. But it is something that I do want to consider and, as I mentioned, if it remains intact, I certainly reserve the right to vote no on third reading.”

Cox says he wants to see the second sentence removed but isn’t planning to offer an amendment to do so.

Many believe if the amendment is altered, the ratification process would restart, potentially putting it on the ballot in 2016 rather than this fall.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

  • CardinalRD

    How disgusting. This makes me ashamed to say I live in Indiana. I guess that makes my interview out of state this Friday a good thing.

  • Zach Gadson

    This is discrimination in it’s simplest form. As a gay man myself, I want nothing other than the ability to commit myself to who I love, and to have the same financial benefits of those who are married. I pay taxes just like everyone else, thus, I am equally entitled to the same benefits as others.

  • kj

    as a Republican that is in love with another woman its ridiculous to me and my partner of 4 years…I can marry her and the state Indianas acceptance and recognition does not mean anything to me and my family including two children I can go and hire an attorney and make sure that my girlfriend/wife has every legal benefit to my will and my estate that would give me the same rights as marriage would. I do not understand why Indiana legislature is wasting your time on banning something that is already illegal. there are way more important issues to me and my family than this….I do not need to be recognized by the state of Indiana for whom I love just want the government to do their job in every other aspect.

  • Zambanini4Equality

    Absolutely shameful. But then what else did we expect from this stacked deck: 9 Republicans, 3 Democrats and 1 blue dog Democrat (who might as well be a Republican). That would have given Bosma a 10-3 win, but it came out 9-3 because the blue dog Dem was registered as “absent” due to a “medical emergency” said to be an ill child. Probably more like a faux medical emergency. A spineless way to keep from upsetting constituents of either party.

  • Karen Kusserow

    Good luck with the interview. I hope you get the job and can get away!

  • Pingback: Indiana wants to ban same-sex marriage (again) | The McLean Parlor

  • lastcamp2

    I was amused to hear that the governor backs the amendment, claiming that voters, not judges, should decide the issue.

    However, he overlooks a very fundamental fact that he
    might have learned in high school civics. Since the early 19th
    Century, judges, particularly in the federal courts, have had the power of
    judicial review, and the power to decide the constitutionality of state
    laws and constitutional provisions. Under Article 6 of the U.S.
    Constitution, the Constitution and all laws made under it are the
    Supreme Law of the Land. That includes being supreme to state
    constitutions. Pence doesn’t explain how he is going to get around that
    basic legal principle. Probably because he can’t, any more than he can
    explain his lack of knowledge on this point. After all, he claims to
    have gone to IU Law School, and should recognize that this proposed amendment will raise issues under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and Federal courts have already ruled against similar marriage restrictions.

    I wonder what constitution they teach about at IU Bloomington.

  • Joel Barrus

    I have gay friends, and have nothing against homosexuals and am definitely not a hater. But if you don’t like Indiana them by all means just leave state. I hate that everyone makes such a huge deal out of everything and they say they hate their state or are saddened by it allowing it to be voted by the PEOPLE. That’s how it should be done, we are a democracy, and because people value their beliefs, just like gay people do, doesn’t mean you should be allowed to bash them. They have strong belief in the bible and believe marriage should be between a man and woman. Do I stand and preach against gay marriage, absolutely not. Do I sit around and quote the bible, definitely no. But do I think that everyone should put others down because they believe something different than less than 2% of the population….heck no. You are allowed to have different beliefs, political views, and think outcomes should happen differently. But I absolutely hate when people say-well you don’t believe in how I think? Then you are a bigot, racist, homophob….come on people. Take your sob story somewhere else….

  • enuma

    We are not a direct democracy. We are a representative democracy and a constitutional republic, and for good reason: so the majority can’t trample on the rights of the minority and pretend it’s just “letting the people decide.”

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