HJR-3 passes Indiana Senate without sentence banning civil unions
The Indiana Senate voted to pass a constitutional amendment strengthening the state's same-sex marriage ban Monday afternoon, but the earliest the voters could get to see the bill is 2016.
The debate on amending Indiana's constitution to strengthen the state's same-sex marriage ban is over for now.
The Indiana Senate passed HJR-3 without the second sentence banning civil unions in a 32-17 vote Monday, Feb. 17, after senators spent about 45 minutes stating their stances.
Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, compared same-sex marriage to interracial marriage and asked the senators not to add an amendment that he believes will be challenged in the future.
"It's not right for us to... put things on the books that we know, over time, will be taken out," Taylor said. "Don't we want a place where our grandchildren can be happy and don't have to worry about this?"
But Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, disagreed with Taylor in the closing arguments for HJR-3. He cited his faith as the basis for his vote in favor of HJR-3.
"Every decision I make in this room is based upon my God and what he's told me," Young said, adding that he feels the decision on the amendment needs to be made by Hoosier voters rather than one judge.
The bill will now have to be introduced in the 2015 or 2016 legislature and passed again through the Indiana House and Senate for Hoosiers to see a referendum about the amendment on the 2016 ballot.
Amendments must be approved, in the same form, by two separately elected legislatures before going to voters. That means November 2016 is the earliest the measure could be on the ballot.
Supporters, including Gov. Mike Pence, had wanted the amendment to be passed in the same form in which it passed in 2011 so the public could vote on it this November.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.