- Rebecca Townsend
- The hopeful smiles of opponents of HJR 3 and HB 1153 (such as these clergymen photographed just prior to the Elections Committee hearing) were replaced with heart-breaking disappointment as the House Elections Committee declined to kill the issue for the season and in all likelihood enabled an onslaught of divisive and discriminatory advertising throughout the state.
The controversial amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana passed a House committee Wednesday.
The House Elections Committee passed the amendment 9-3 after more than four hours of testimony and debate.
House Joint Resolution 3 would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
House Bill 1153 - a supplementary bill written to describe the "legislative intent" of HJR 3 - also passed.
Both HJR 3 and HB 1153 were moved from the Judiciary Committee to the Elections Committee Tuesday afternoon.
That left Elections committee members with less than 24 hours to prepare themselves to hear the legislation.
"I'm a bit overwhelmed," said Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis. "It's grossly unfair to the citizens of Indiana."
Bartlett also questioned why the proposals were moved to the Elections Committee, because he said he thought both HJR 3 and HB 1153 were legal issues that should have been decided in the Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus - chairman of the Elections Committee - said he thinks the marriage issue should be decided by Hoosiers at the ballot box, and therefore it is also an elections issue.
The testimony - which was initially limited to one hour for each side - mirrored the arguments heard in the Judiciary Committee last week.
Representatives from Indiana University, Eli Lilly & Company and Cummins all testified that they believe HJR 3 would have negative repercussions on their ability to attract and keep a high quality workforce.
The amendment was supported by Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute, and Ken Klukowski, a law professor at Liberty University, among others.
Both measures now move to the full House for consideration. If passed by the House, HJR 3 would then have to also pass the Senate before being placed on the ballot in November.
John Sittler is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.