Second Sentence Removed from HJR 3

The twittersphere is exploding with the news that, by a vote of 52 – 43, the House has amended HJR 3 to remove the second sentence that prohibits recognition of a legal status similar to marriage for unmarried people.

This would seem to mean that the measure won’t be on the 2014 ballot. Under the Indiana Constitution, the same proposed amendment has to be passed by consecutive General Assemblies. There is a marginal argument to be made that, because the first sentence was approved by two General Assemblies, that piece can go on the ballot. But it’s tough to argue that it’s the same amendment. There is a substantial difference between the two. The impact of the second resolution is different from the impact of the first. We can’t just retroactively declare that the current version, with only the first sentence, would have passed the previous General Assembly. (Update Rep. Truitt’s amendment was the one that was offered, and its language specifically refers the amendment to the next General Assembly.)

The House still has to pass the amended version on Third Reading and then it goes over to the Senate. The Senate could amend it again to put the second sentence back in and the House could concur in those changes — then it could get on the 2014 ballot.

This is significant. Apart from the apparent trend of greater and greater acceptance of marriage equality, the demographics in a Presidential election year are quite different from those in a midterm year.


  1. Coach_R says

    What are the odds it doesn’t pass on third reading? Between the solid opponent and the proponents who were set on the second sentence, is there enough unhappiness to send it down once and for all?
    My understanding is that the Senate could still revive the second sentence and put it to another vote in the House.

    • David Z says

      I think the die has been cast in the House. This gives representatives who feel they need to appease their voting base a middle road – still support the amendment, but only with the changes to “fix flaws in the language.” Now there’s another super majority that we need to work on to at least push this out until the federal courts have a full say – which will most likely go the way of equal marriage.

  2. hoosierOne says

    And in the final vote, even though he stated his fervent belief in traditional marriage, which the amended Constitutional Amendment provides, Rep.Truitt voted NO. I’m pleasantly surprised on that, although one could argue that he knows his district has gone for Obama and Gregg in 2012.

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