Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

February 21, 2014

Legislators reveal their thoughts on HJR-3

The Indiana General Assembly recently moved a step closer to adding an amendment to the state’s Constitution regarding what is recognized as a valid marriage.

In 2011, lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages as well as civil unions and similar arrangements. This year, Indiana House of Representative members took out the sentence regarding civil unions and similar arrangements, but still approved House Joint Resolution 3, which said, “Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.”

Indiana senators did not put the civil union language back in, and also approved the proposed resolution.

District 42 Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) noted, “This time, the vote (in the Senate) was 32-17, and last time, it was 40 votes for and 10 against.”

She voted yes on the proposed amendment three years ago and again this time. “I was being consistent. It’s still the same issue .... (and) according to the survey I sent out .... with over 2,000 responses, 75 percent of the people wanted me to vote for it.”

The amendment “cannot be on the ballot in 2014 because to change the Constitution, an identical resolution has to pass in two separately elected general assemblies.” Since the wording was changed, the earliest it would go to voters would be November 2016,” Leising pointed out.

“I think that, ultimately, it’s the goal of the legislators to speak their peace as to whether the Constitution should be amended. They have the opportunity to vote yes or no. This is an important issue for many people and one which we should make sure all the people’s views are heard.”

District 43 Sen. Johnny Nugent (R-Lawrenceburg) also voted yes. “It’s pretty easy for me because I believe in traditional marriage between one man and one woman.

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