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Lawmakers Disagree Over Second Sentence Of HJR-3

Lawmakers and legal experts disagree on the consequences of the second sentence of the bill, which bans any legal status “substantially similar” to marriage.

Bosma

Photo: Indiana Public Media

Speaker Brian Bosma says he supports the second sentence of HJR-3 and the companion bill, House Bill 1153, answers the questions it raises.

House Speaker Brian Bosma says he is personally opposed to removing the second sentence of HJR-3, the proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage.

But Bosma says he won’t block the efforts of those who do.

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.  Some lawmakers have suggested changing the wording of or even removing the second sentence entirely.

But Speaker Bosma says he doesn’t think that’s necessary:

“I think the companion bill, House Bill 1153, very clearly answers the questions raised by the second sentence so I think the bill is good as it sits – and the resolution, too,” Bosma says.

The companion bill spells out what the legislature says the amendment does not intend, such as denying domestic partnership benefits.  Still, opponents of the measure say judges can ignore the companion bill, reemphasizing the need to eliminate the second sentence.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says he won’t stop attempts to change the amendment if the measure reaches the Senate floor.

“I would not be in favor of doing it in committee but once it hits the floor, anything’s open and I think that’s the way it always should be for any bill or resolution,” Long says.  ”So we’ll see what happens.”

Long would not say whether he personally supports removing the second sentence.

HJR-3 will be available for changes on the House floor next week.

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