The controversial marriage amendment will be heard again by lawmakers in a packed committee hearing at the Statehouse.
Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, announced Tuesday that HJR3 would be moved to the House Elections committee, which is hearing the issue at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.
The resolution had stalled in the House Judiciary committee, whose members held a three-hour hearing on the issue last week, but did not vote.
“I struggled with it over the weekend,” Bosma said. “I had clearly heard from an overwhelming majority of my caucus that they wanted to have the bill on the floor. They wanted to have the opportunity to vote say their piece on it.”
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.
“(He) contacted me and asked me to do this,” Bosma said. “He was not confident, he too wanted to bring the bill to the floor. He was not confident that it was going to make it.”
HJR3 opponents were quick to criticize the Speaker’s actions.
“Sometimes the legislative process does not garner the expected result, but that does not mean one gets to change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Senate minority leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. “This kind of legislative maneuvering has no place here. With each new political ploy leadership decides to enact, the flaws of the legislation at hand become more glaring.”
Monday night more than 100 opponents of HJR3 gathered to write letters to Bosma, urging him to let the legislative process play out.
“Playing musical chairs with committee members is unprecedented and kind of what I’m calling the nuclear option,” said Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan Robertson on Monday. “We learned when we were young — just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.”
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.
Turner has also authored a companion bill, House Bill 1153, which attempts to clarify the controversial second sentence in the marriage amendment which states that “a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
Opponents said the companion bill only showed that the original amendment was flawed, and should be thrown out.
A recent poll commissioned by House and Senate Republicans showed that a majority of Hoosiers supported the controversial amendment, but not if it meant domestic partnerships would be threatened.