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HJR-3 Will Not Be On November Ballot

Freedom Indiana protestors demonstrate outside the Senate chambers.

The proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman will not be on the November ballot after the Senate failed to offer any amendments to the bill this afternoon.

HJR-3’s second sentence, which banned civil unions, was removed by the House after concerns it would prohibit domestic partnership benefits.

Proponents of the measure called for the language to be reinserted by the Senate.

But as the Senate session began, Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, indicated in a Tweet there wasn’t enough support to reinsert the amendment’s second sentence, which banned civil unions and was removed by the House last month:

Then, when Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, who presides over the Senate, opened the floor up for proposed changes to HJR-3, she was met with silence.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says his caucus made the decision not to offer any changes.

Long says he was personally opposed to the second sentence. He believes the first sentence, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, is sufficient.

“I’m convinced that it really doesn’t make any difference in the end,” he says. “The United States Supreme Court is going to make the decision on whether or not it’s either a state-by-state determination or whether the 14th Amendment will rule and that they say that all marriage is the same.”

Long says the Senate will vote on HJR-3’s final passage Monday. If the Senate passes it, it will move forward for consideration by the General Assembly in either 2015 or 2016 but it will not be sent to the voters this year.

Soon after it was clear HJR-3 would not be amended, Freedom Indiana, the bipartisan, grassroots coalition formed to oppose HJR-3 issued a statement, declaring victory in this year’s political battle.

“To say that today’s outcome is historic is an understatement. Just six months ago, advancing HJR-3 to the ballot was a sure bet — but together, we built an unstoppable grassroots force committed to defending liberty for all Hoosier families,” Freedom Indiana Campaign Manager Megan Robertson said in a statement, adding that the group still has work to do because HJR-3 could still be approved by future legislatures.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says he’s surprised by the shift on the issue in just a few years. In 2011, Lanane offered an amendment removing the second sentence that was defeated in a party line vote.

“I have to congratulate those on both sides of the aisle here who certainly recognize that this particular language does a lot of harm to the state of Indiana,” he says.

Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.

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