Of the second part of the proposed amendment, Long said: “I think there’s a lot of: ‘I wish we hadn’t put it in there because we see society changing.’ Young people feel differently than older people on this issue.”
Long said his own two sons, who are age 21 and 26, have a different opinion on the marriage ban amendment than he does, but declined to elaborate.
Long did raise concerns about changing the language of House Joint Resolution 6, because of the rules that cover amending the state constitution. Indiana law requires a proposed amendment be passed by two separate General Assemblies, then put to the public for a vote. The measure passed the first time in 2011; it has to pass again in 2014 for it to go on the November ballot.
Long said staff attorneys with the Legislative Services Agency, the legislature’s non-partisan research arm, have told him that changing the language of the resolution would raise legal questions about its constitutionality.
“I fully expect to see it (HJR-6) on the floor of the House and expect it will pass the House,” Long said. “And if it does, we’ll have a full discussion in the Senate.”
Lanane, who leads a small Democratic caucus in the Senate, said he was disappointed that legislative leaders decided not to kill the amendment.
“It would be the courageous thing to do,” Lanane said.
The pressure is on Republican leaders to keep the measure alive. Indiana already has a ban on same-sex marriage but Republican Gov. Mike Pence and social conservative organizations that have contributed heavily to GOP candidates argue that the law needs to be expanded to include a ban on civil union and locked in the constitution.
Both Lanane and Pelath acknowledged the politics of killing the resolution would be risky for GOP leaders, because it would alienate their socially conservative base.