HJR 3 debate over for 2014
Indiana Senate starts process over passing amended same sex ban
By Rick Yencer
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (NEWS) - The same sex marriage ban debate faded for 2014 after the Indiana Senate voted on an amended version of the resolution on Monday.
The 32-17 vote adopting HJR 3 without a civil union ban starts the process over and will now put any referendum on the 2016 ballot.
Even grandstanding by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, could not convince fellow Republicans to put the original version of the resolution up for a vote to ensure a referendum this year.
And President Pro Tem David Long, like House Speaker Speaker Brian Bosma, supported the amended version, hoping that passionate crowds from Freedom Indiana that oppose a ban and faith and traditional family groups go home and stay there in a mid term election with 25 senators and all 100 House members on the ballot.
Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, Senate minority leader, respected the position of ban supporters and opponents.
But he again warned fellow senators not to write discrimination into the Indiana Constitution like the Founding Fathers did when they allowed slavery until another Congress and civil war ended the practice.
Lanane and other Senate Democrats encouraged their Republican colleagues to end the debate now instead of prolong it another 30 months through two more legislative sessions.
But Long and other party loyalists including Sens. Doug Eckerty of Yorktown and Travis Holdman of Markle, passed the measure as did a majority of House Republicans.
Eckerty believed voters should utlitmately decide the issue, but said last week it was unlikely same sex marriage would even be an issue in a couple of years.
After the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the federal defense of marriage act last year, lower federal courts are now throwing out same sex bans in state constitutions.
And the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced it would recognize same sex couples the same as opposite sex couples in all legal matters.
Lanane, a lawyer, also said Indiana could find itself in court by pursuing a ban that other states are now rejecting.
Other Senate Democrats like Jean Breaux of Indianapolis, implored Republicans to make children and others need a priority over fighting about marriage.
Breaux explained how more than $3 billion in child support goes unpaid in Indiana, amounting to about a third of families receiving that assistance.
And she told the Senate they should expand Medicaid, despite delays from Gov. Mike Pence, to help those who need health care benefits.
Long did not immediately offer any comment, and other Senate Republicans declined to take the podium to debate the issue after an hourlong caucus.
Pence also wanted the referendum on the November ballot, and has been silent about the recent effort that derailed this year's vote.