Governor Mike Pence says he wants HJR-3’s second sentence put back in the amendment after House lawmakers removed it this week.
In comments made to WISH-TV in Indianapolis this week, Governor Pence was clear: he wants lawmakers to end the marriage debate this year and reinsert HJR-3’s second sentence, which outlaws civil unions.
Some believe it could prohibit domestic partnership benefits and 23 House Republicans joined Democrats to delete it from the measure. Removing the sentence also restarts the ratification process, potentially sending HJR-3 to voters in 2016, not this fall.
Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody says Pence’s comments represent an old-fashioned agenda and send the wrong message.
“Why doesn’t he want it on the ballot when he’s said he’s going to run for reelection in 2016?” Zody says. “He’s sort of dragging politics into a debate that has to do with the rights and abilities of Hoosiers to live here and work here and earn the benefits that we all feel that we’re entitled to.”
HJR-3 is in a Senate committee, where lawmakers could consider reinserting the second sentence in a couple of weeks.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long says he hasn’t spoken with the governor about the issue.
“He does not have a veto in this, as you all know as well,” he says. “This is not something that goes to the governor for signature. So it’s not his call on this.”
Long says he wants to move HJR-3 out of committee without any changes, waiting until it reaches the full Senate for potential action to reinsert the second sentence.