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Same sex marriage ban clears first procedural vote in House

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One day after a House committee moved forward with Indiana’s controversial same-sex marriage amendment, the issue came before the entire House for a procedural vote Thursday, with some Democrats trying to block the committee’s report from being filed in the House.

Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, moved the issue to the House Elections committee this week after the resolution had stalled in the House Judiciary committee, where its passage was not assured.

“Essentially, what we’ve had happen here is an attempt to establish a precedent of handing out mulligans, where if you get stuck in a sand trap, you just get a mulligan and a do over,” said State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington.

The attempt to block the committee report failed by a wide margin, mostly along partly lines. But already, several Republicans have indicated they won’t vote ‘yes’ when the issue comes to a final vote in the House, perhaps as soon as next Tuesday.

“I do not support this resolution and I’m going to vote against it,” said State Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, one of nine Republicans on the Judiciary committee, which heard several hours of testimony but did not take a vote.

Bosma said Judiciary committee chair Greg Steuerwald, R-Danville, asked him to move the bill elsewhere, out of a concern the bill might not pass the committee.

“We had one person who wasn’t going to say what their vote was, and that’s why the chairman asked me to move the bill,” Bosma said Thursday.

HJR3 opponents were quick to criticize the Speaker’s actions.

“I’m somewhat amused by the option of ‘let’s let the people decide’,” said Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes. “In the seven years I’ve been here, there’s been lots of times we could have let the people decide and we didn’t.”

“I’m a little bit angry about that, but there’s nothing we can do,” said Annette Gross, a HJR3 Opponent. “We can just be here to support equality.”

Emotions were high as crowds gathered in the House Chambers balcony and outside. An HJR3 opponent was escorted out by Indiana State Police officers after giving a thumbs down during testimony.

The constitutional amendment was authored by Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero. Turner’s resolution had been filed last session as HJR6, but was set aside.

The resolution would have to pass the legislature this session to be placed on November’s statewide ballot.