January 31, 2014

Indiana House amends House Joint Resolution 3

By Brigid Curtis Ayer

The Indiana House of Representatives took up the state’s marriage debate on Jan. 27, focusing on whether the proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit civil unions.

Rep. Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) offered an amendment to House Joint Resolution 3 (HJR3) to remove language which would prohibit Indiana from granting same-sex couples anything that was “identical or substantially similar to that of marriage.”

The focus of recent debate has centered on the impact that the words “identical or substantially similar to that of marriage” would have on businesses and same-sex couples. Some claim the language could prevent employers from granting domestic partner benefits.

Current Indiana law defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. However, Rep. Eric Turner, (R-Cicero), author of HJR3, said that without a constitutional amendment to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, a challenge to Indiana’s current law could force the state to recognize same-sex marriage.

After a short debate, the full house voted to support the amendment to strike the contentious language. The amendment to HJR3 passed by a 52-43 vote.

To change the Indiana Constitution, an identical proposal must be passed by two separately elected General Assemblies. Once passed, the proposed change must be approved by a majority of state voters on a referendum. †

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