Monday, January 27, 2014

Breaking: HJR-3 AMENDED by House on Second Reading; Future Cloudy

In a dramatic 52-43 vote, the Indiana House of Representatives voted to amend House Joint Resolution 3 to remove the second sentence of the proposed amendment.

So, HJR-3, after second reading,
looks like this:
Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. 
A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
IF HJR-3 is left alone and no changes are made and it passes the Senate as amended, the process for constitutional amendments should start over again and the first time we'd see this on a ballot is likely 2016.  There are, of course, complications.

Legal experts at the Indiana General Assembly still seem unclear on all of this, but it appears that the Indiana Senate could pass HJR-3 as originally worded and then have the House pass an amended version in conference committee.  That means that it could show up on the ballot in 2014.

The General Assembly could also argue that since the first sentence did not change that it alone could go to the ballot in 2014.  Legal experts say that this would likely ignite a court battle.

Here is the Indiana Law Blog's interpretation.

While this possibly kills HJR-3 for now, it clearly likely still has a faint heartbeat for 2014 and a pounding heartbeat for 2016 depending on what the General Assembly does from here.  It bears watching.

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