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Senate panel approves altered same-sex marriage ban

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An Indiana Senate committee voted 8-4 Monday evening, along party lines, in favor of a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, setting up a Senate battle on the issue later this week.

The Rules Committee, comprised of Democratic and Republican Senate leaders and chaired by Senate President Pro Tem David Long, waded through three hours of often emotional testimony on House Joint Resolution 3, before advancing the measure.

Monday's vote now sets up a debate over whether the so-called "second sentence" of HJR 3, banning civil unions, will be reinserted by Senate lawmakers.

The House narrowly stripped the "second sentence" ban on civil unions on a bipartisan vote last month, amid concerns that it went too far, even for supporters of the gay marriage ban. But HJR 3 supporters have urgently called for the sentence to be restored in order to set up a November public vote on the issue.

Indiana's constitutional amendment process requires proposals be vetted in two consecutive biennial meetings of the General Assembly, then go before voters in order to be written into the constitution. But passing the ban without the second sentence would restart the clock, making 2016 the soonest any public vote could happen.

The proposed ban won broad bipartisan support in 2011, sailing through the General Assembly with little notice during a year in which sweeping education changes and five-week walkout by House Democrats dominated the debate. But a strong coalition of opponents, led by some of the biggest players in the state's business and higher education communities, emerged as a powerful force this year.

Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute and one of the conservatives leading the charge in favor of HJR 3, argued the "second sentence" is needed to protect the state against legal challenges, should the proposed ban be adopted.

"It's not enough to just define marriage in an amendment like this. You have to defend marriage," Smith said. "That's the lesson from the courts."

One of the potentially most influential voices, Republican Gov. Mike Pence, has largely removed himself from the debate, saying he supports reinserting the "second sentence" but will not be talking about the issue again until after the 2014 session ends.

Supporters of the ban showed up at the Statehouse Monday in larger numbers, in part with the help of African American church leaders who have mobilized recently. But they were still outnumbered by opponents, wearing red clothes, as they have throughout the Statehouse fight, to signify their opposition.

Jennifer Fisher, a recruiter in Fort Wayne, asked lawmakers to consider the personal implications of the ban for gay couples raising a family. She noted that she and her partner, a police officer from Fort Wayne, would like to have children at some point, but their legal standing in Indiana puts her in risk of losing their children.

"If she is killed in the line of duty, someone could take away my family," she said.

The full Senate could take up debate on the marriage ban as soon as Thursday.

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  • Thanks Rick
    Nice notes Rick. I'm on the fence about the debate because I am neither religious or gay. But I like the way you write your side and I am not of fan of the way the others oppose you. They write mad, while you seem calm about it. I also enjoyed reading the other poster that also discussed teaching the kids. While Marshall suggested in his post that homosexuality is as normal, he wouldn't need such argument is that were true. And Marshall likes to use CAPS, which is also not normal. He really likes to emphasize. In sex education, will they explain what normal people do for sex and what normal homosexuals do for sex? I always thought that this ban would be bad for Indiana, maybe other good folks will move here because of it aw well. Interesting battle.
  • As a married man with kids
    There is absolutely nothing to fear about gay people being able to marry. It doesn't prevent them from marrying, whether they turn out of the straight or gay.
  • Support HR3 to protect children
    HR3 is a battle about the future of children particularly in public schools. The future is to force those who believe in traditional marriage to accept homosexual marriage. I want my children to be able to attend public school without being forced to accept two mommies and two daddies as viable. If we do not pass HR3, mark my words within 5 years the state will have court challenges and a judge will overturn current laws. How in the world does HR3 prevent homosexuals from practicing or being homosexual. It does nothing of the sort. It simply codifies heterosexual marriage as the accepted standard like it has been for thousands of years. Additionally if we do not have HR3 we will also have those driving for polygamy and other forms of unions.
  • Fight moral battles in church
    There seems to be a misunderstanding here: 1. State government does not exist to regulate morality -- unless an act harms another person (murder, polluting, etc.) 2. Churches/Religions should fight for their view of morality through their places of worship -- or advertising, if they so wish. To Rick, you said to Vicki, "not tolerating my beliefs could be considered equally bigoted." Really? You would tell a black person in the segregated Fifties that he is bigoted because he wouldn't tolerate your view that he should be segregated? Among other things, bigotry is where a person irrationally LIMITS another's rights. Extending equality in marriage to gay people does not limit your marriage. There is only one bigot by definition in that scenario.
  • Nope or dope?
    "consistent Christianity"?! Better put a third sentence in the ban: All marriages must occur in my church, none at city hall.
  • Part-time Governor?
    "Republican Gov. Mike Pence, has largely removed himself from the debate...will not be talking about the issue again until after the 2014 session ends." So much so so-called "state's rights." Governor is a no-show, except for his election.
  • To Rick
    We'll have to agree to disagree then, Rick. To me this ban makes no sense for our state and its future. I'm sad you can't see why.
  • Young Hoosier
    Thanks, Young Hoosier, for your respect in asking. Obviously divorce and adultery are societal evils that are legalized. Sadly, so is abortion, the death penalty and in at least one state assisted suicide. So, where I stand, is to teach my children right from wrong, a sense of personal responsibility, and a duty to stand up when necessary. I try to stand against adultery and divorce as an example through fidelity and I try to give my children as many examples of this fidelity as possible. I actively join the fight for life. This current battle is one that I believe is worth standing up against. Clearly, I would be a fool to believe that HJR-3 is a panacea. However, my folly would be greater if I didn't stand up for my beliefs. I'm not trying to be boastful or arrogant - just trying to explain that I must fight this fight out of obligation to my beliefs. Marshall: Thank you for making my point. Chip: Clearly you care what I think or you would not have responded. Freedom: I never said gays were "icky". I just don't believe there is a right to marry and I don't believe it should be publicly exhibited. I actually have friends that are gay and know where I stand on the issues. It's the act not the person. Vicki: not tolerating my beliefs could be considered equally bigoted.
  • from religion
    Rick - It seems to me a religious cult might be the answer to your woes. In that type of environment, you can live only with people that look and think like you and can be shielded from everyday people, like those icky gays you spend way too much time thinking about. Seventeen states now have full marriage equality and Indiana will also get there eventually, so time is running out. Please know that most people don't share your misguided religious beliefs. Keep it in the Church and out of the Statehouse.
  • Poor Rick
    1) No one cares what you think. No one. 2) You say "I believe that this is what is right for the state economically. If HJR-3 fails to pass, to remain as a citizen of this state will force me to live in an economic environment that is less than what it could be." Did your crystal ball tell you this? How do you know? 3) You do realize the US Constitution trumps Indiana's pathetic little constitution, so your effort to "lessen the impact" is a joke. The Federal government will just sue the state, and people like you, who are so concerned with the state's fiscal affairs, will just continue to squander taxpayer money in defending something that's, well, not defensible. All around, great job!
  • And Rick....
    ... once again, you prove that Christians are intolerant of any person who does not hold their beliefs. "Attacked, ridiculed, vilified and persecuted..."?!? Really? I'm so sick and tired of people like you playing the victim as you CONTINUE to launch attacks from behind your "Christian" beliefs. Homosexuality is NOT a "lifestyle", it is a sexual orientation every bit as normal as heterosexuality. Rick, are you afraid that you will turn gay when gay marriage is legalized? Is that what you mean when you refer to it being "forced" upon you? And yes I did say WHEN it is legalized because the decisions of our Supreme Court of The United States last summer have all but assured it.
  • We have got to get rid of these bigots in the State House.
    There is nothing worse than having a legislature who spends so much of its time working at taking freedoms away from some of the people of the state. And, stop quoting the Bible to me! These who quote take and choose what they want to use from the Bible. And besides there are religions that do not use the Bible in their worship, so the Bible is not the ONLY way. These holier than thous have to be kicked out of our state government. They really do think they are holier than others. I'd call them more the devil intervening.
  • Question for Rick
    Rick, I do appreciate your explanation and it does help me understand where you stand and why you stand there. However, this does lead to the obvious question of divorce and adultery: where do you stand on that? Because surely a society that allows both is neither traditional nor moral, nor is it good for our kids. Just curious on your thoughts there.
  • forced
    iuhoosier: that's a very fair question. I believe this issue is being forced in several ways. First, there is the basic societal trend that is occurring. Frankly, I'm not certain that much can be done to prevent it, but at least I can do my part to lessen the impact. Gay marriage is already illegal in IN. However, civil unions are not prevented in the constitution. If a c/u becomes an option in IN, that sends the message that this lifestyle is "ok" (clearly, I believe it is not ok). Further, if a c/u becomes legal in Indiana, that will likely increase the visibility & prominence of said lifestyle. As I've said many times, there are those of us who wish to raise our children in a traditional environment with traditional moral values. It's not that I'm "sticking my head in the sand" (as I've been accused of previously), I'm 'circling the wagons' and trying to protect my children from what I, personally, see as a moral danger. Second, public schools are required to teach per the laws of the State. I've already experienced teachers assigning mandatory classroom readings that included 2 mommies or 2 daddies. If this is not forcing the issue into the home, I don't know what is. Lastly, as I've often said, I believe that this is what is right for the state economically. If HJR-3 fails to pass, to remain as a citizen of this state will force me to live in an economic environment that is less than what it could be. Does this help you to understand where I am coming from? My turn for a question: If passing HJR-3, with the original language restored, only leads to a ballot question where ALL voters can decide this issue, why is everybody so against its passage? What is there to be afraid of?
    • Zero
      I will do everything in my power to defeat passage of HJR-3. It serves absolutely no purpose other than to discriminate and deny rights to an entire segment of the population.
    • Forced?
      Rick, if this passes how is it being forced upon you? No one is forcing you to attend a gay wedding, no one is forcing you to change your moral stance, and no one is forcing you to do anything. That is the beautiful part of this, no one is being forced to do anything but vote. Even then you aren't forced to do that. Not sure where the "forced" part is coming from.
    • Nope
      It's not at all about "convenient Christianity", rather "consistent Christianity". If it were convenient, there would be no problem with this amendment not passing. "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20) and "“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). This is about standing up for what we believe is right and true. As for a ban on women teachers: St. Teresa of Calcutta; St Therese of Avila; St. Therese of Lisieux; St. Scholastica; St. Catherine of Sienna; the Blessed Virgin; Mother Angelica. In truth, I find it rather convenient that, instead of trying to understand the faithful point of view that many voters are coming from, those voters and their point of view are attacked, ridiculed, vilified and persecuted. Now, I'll get off of that particular soapbox and stand on another one. I believe that passing HJR3 (beyond the moral implications) will have long-term, positive economic implications for the state. Contrary to what the MSM would have you believe, not every "young, smart, creative and educated" person wants to live in a society where this 'lifestyle' is forced upon them. Many want to raise their children in an environment with traditional values. I know several that have fled more liberal environments for Indiana just because of the current trends. It is my strong belief that by taking a stand against the current wave, Indiana will benefit in the long run. I will do everything I can to support passage of HJR-3.
      • Yep, Sam
        It's all about "Convenient Christianity" for the pro-HJR-3 folks. Women in leadership in the statehouse? An abomination. It's right there in Bible: 1 Timothy 2:12 "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" As you point out, they pick and choose from the Bible they revere, because some of it is just so darn inconvenient.
      • Defend marriage?
        You need to defend marriage by now allowing citizens of Indiana who love each other to get married, but you defend marriage by letting married people get a divorce? Why do you want to make gay Indiana citizens second class to non-gay citizens? When are you going to bring an amendment to keep women silent in the church? (1 Corinthians 14:34) How about a ban on women teachers? (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

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      1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

      2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

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