INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indiana Senate has approved the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, known as House Joint Resolution 3 (commonly referred to as as HJR-3 and formerly known as House Joint Resolution 6).
Lawmakers met for nearly three hours behind closed doors Monday before going into session. By a vote of 32-17, lawmakers approved the controversial measure, but because of previous changes made by lawmakers, the issue will not be on this year’s ballot.
The resolution would not be able to go to voters until 2016 at the soonest, since proposed constitutional amendments have to pass two consecutive, separately elected legislatures with the exact same wording.
The amendment seeks to permanently alter the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as being between a woman and a man.
HJR-3’s original language is as follows:
“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.”
Lawmakers amended the resolution to drop the second sentence, which some opponents feared would prohibit civil unions and domestic partnership benefits.
Critics of the bill, like Freedom Indiana, a group that includes several businesses and universities, said passing the measure would hinder Indiana’s ability to attract and retain top talent and have a negative impact on Indiana’s national image.
Monday’s vote was somewhat overshadowed by one state senator’s “war of words” on Twitter.
Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, held a news conference Monday morning at the Indiana Statehouse to address his controversial social media posts last week surrounding HJR-3.
Last Thursday, the lawmaker posted a string of controversial tweets and comments on his Twitter feed regarding the debate about a gay marriage amendment to the Indiana constitution.
The Republican senator had proposed to restore the original language to the gay marriage legislation, that would have included the potential restrictions on civil unions and domestic partnerships. The measure failed to move forward in the senate Thursday and the bill became ineligible to be placed on the fall ballot.