Indiana House passes HJR-3 with changes, sends measure to Senate

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The Indiana House passed the amended version of HJR-3 Tuesday afternoon.

The bill passed the full house by a vote of 57-40. The measure will now be sent to the Senate.

On Monday, lawmakers dropped HJR3’s controversial 2nd sentence.

Some had worried what that sentence could mean for civil unions and domestic partnerships.

“This is an emotional issue,” acknowledged Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, the author of HJR-3. “I’ve worked on this for 11 years, because I believe in it.”

But because the resolution had to pass with the same wording as the last time it passed, the change in wording means the issue likely won’t be on this November’s statewide ballot, unless the Senate adds the wording back in and somehow gets the House to go along with it too.

“There are certainly ways people can bring things back to life,” said Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan Robertson. “But I think it’s a positive step in the right direction.”

“The fact is, we have not dismantled this bomb,” said House minority leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City. “We’ve simply placed a longer fuse on it before it detonates in all of our faces.”

So could it be on the ballot in the future? Possibly in 2016, if the General Assembly approves the new version this year and again next year or the year after. But some also wonder if Governor Pence would really want the issue on the ballot the same year he’d have to run for re-election.

“I’ve said the whole time I thought it would be bad for Republicans if it were on the ballot,” said Robertson, a Republican herself. “I think it would be very bad for Governor Pence for it to be on the ballot then.”

The Senate will consider the modified language when HJR-3 goes to a Senate committee for its consideration early next month.