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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ind. Gov't - "Intrigue is rampant behind the curtain of HJR-3 debate"

That is the headline given to the lengthy story today by IndyStar's Tony Cook and Barb Berggoetz, here in the Lafayette Journal Courier. The story goes through this session's consideration of HJR6/HJR3 step-by-step, in a manner for which they will be thanked by future researchers, and they include a timeline. A sample:

It all began with what has become known in conservative circles as “The Promise.”

In November 2012, Indiana voters swept a super majority of Republicans into both chambers of the General Assembly and elected a governor with social conservative bona fides.

Having already passed the constitutional same-sex marriage ban in 2011, lawmakers seemed poised to pass it for the required second time during the 2013 General Assembly and send it to the voters for a final vote in November 2014.

But [Senate President Pro Tempore David] Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma put on the brakes. They wanted to wait for a U.S. Supreme Court decision in July 2013 that had the potential to make moot any effort in Indiana to strengthen the existing state law prohibiting gay marriage with a constitutional amendment.

What most people didn’t know is that in March 2013, Bosma and Long sent a letter explaining the situation — and making a promise — to the state’s three most influential pro-amendment lobbyists: Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, Micah Clark of the American Family Association, and Eric Miller of Advance America.

“If the Supreme Court’s holding does not adversely impact Indiana’s proposed Constitutional Amendment, we will allow the Amendment to be heard next year,” Bosma and Long promised, “and we believe it will pass both the Senate and the House, thus placing it on the ballot for the 2014 general election.”

Given the GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate and the support of Gov. Mike Pence, Bosma and Long may have felt such a promise would be fairly easy to uphold.

They were wrong.

ILB: The Bosma/Long letter also said [ILB emphasis]:
We wanted to clarify for each of you our recently announced decision not to hear HJR6, the Defense of Marriage Amendment during this year's session of the 1181h General Assembly. As we have shared with you individually our reason for this delay is the concern that the US Supreme Court is scheduled to rule in July upon two distinctive same sex marriage laws which could impact Indiana's proposed Constitutional Amendment. As you know, if the Supreme Court rules adversely on these provisions, we would be placed in the position of having an unconstitutional amendment on the ballot with no means to remove it. Since we have the luxury of waiting until next year's session to pass the Marriage Amendment it seems prudent to wait for the Court's ruling.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 23, 2014 12:53 PM
Posted to Indiana Government