Those hoping to defeat HJR 3, the proposed amendment to put Indiana’s gay marriage ban into the state constitution, accused House Speaker Brian Bosma of being sneaky and underhanded. But Bosma would undoubtedly say he was merely being legislatively astute and taking legitimate advantage of his speaker position.
What he did, when he came to understand that the proposal wasn’t doing too well in the House Judiciary Committee, was to simply move it to the House Elections Committee, where it passed 9-3 on a party line vote (six Republicans for, three Democrats against, in case you hadn’t guessed.) The amendment can now go to a vote by the full House.
We got a sneak preview this week of how intense the lobbying effort for and against HJR 3 is going to be, with hundreds of supporters and critics flooding the Statehouse and Indiana State Police even escorting some people out who ignored a request by the committee chairman that they leave. As votes by the House and Senate near, the lobbyists will step up their efforts, and if the bill passes and the amendment goes before a plebiscite in November, any Hoosiers who don’t want to be harangued over the issue should lock the door and take the phone off the hook.
Opponents of the bill will now focus on the so-called “second sentence” of the measure, which even some proponents admit could have unintended consequences. If they succeed, the bill can’t go before voters in November. Each new constitutional amendment proposal, which this would become, must win approval of two consecutive legislatures before heading to a plebiscite.