Rep. Eric Turner has introduced HJR 3 which is this session’s iteration of HJR 6; the proposed Constitutional amendment precluding marriage equality. It would amend the Indiana constitution to provide:
Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
I am not sure if any decision has been made on the timing for hearing this bill. There was some talk that it would either be heard immediately; in an effort to rip the bandage off quickly or, alternatively, after the February 7, 2014, deadline for primary challengers to file as candidates. (Edited to add: Guess they are going to do the former — House Judiciary Hearing on Monday, January 13).
Update The Indiana Law Blog pointed out that HB 1153, also introduced by Rep. Turner, is intended as sort of a companion to the Constitutional Amendment. It purports to establish legislative intent for the amendment and purports to establish interpretations for the amendment, such as:
[T]he marriage amendment does not prohibit or restrict in any way:
(1) the extension of employment benefits by private sector employers, political subdivisions of the state, or state educational institutions to any beneficiary designated by an employed individual;
(2) the adoption and enforcement of local ordinances granting to any category or class of persons equal opportunities for education, employment, access to public conveniences, access to accommodations, or acquisition of property or to rent property;
(3) an individual from entering into or enforcing terms of a power of attorney, a will, a trust, or another similar lawful agreement or instrument (regardless of name) established for the benefit of another person;
(4) an individual from giving or enforcing a lawful consent or other instrument (regardless of name) that grants powers, rights, or privileges to, imposes obligations on, or provides for the use by or transfer of property to another person;
(5) the protections provided under Indiana’s domestic violence laws or who may qualify for protection from domestic violence; or
(6) action by the general assembly to protect or provide for the property, health, or safety of unmarried persons by appropriate legislation.
This is just backward. The General Assembly does not get to say what the Constitution does or does not do. The Constitution gets to say what the General Assembly can or cannot do. Furthermore, the General Assembly’s intent is not the only relevant consideration. A Constitutional Amendment is also passed by the voters. Perhaps their intent is different than that of the General Assembly? If the intent of the voters is different than that of the General Assembly’s, whose intent governs? Also worth keeping in mind, the next General Assembly could just come along and repeal this law while the Constitution would continue to contain the language of HJR 6/3.
If proponents of the resolution want all of this clarification; I think they need to put the relevant language into the proposed amendment. And, really, if you need that level of particularity to achieve your desired goals; the policy is probably better suited for a statute than the Constitution.