Rep Eric Turner (R - Marion) and Rep Dave Cheatham (D - North Vernon) introduced HJR-3 yesterday on the opening day of the legislative special session. The bill is a proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The Indiana Family Institute is trumpeting the legislation's introduction in an e-mail blast to supporters while also being clear the bill has little chance of passage.
While the stated purpose of the time-limited session is corrective (to adopt the budget they were supposed to adopt during the regular session), all eyes have been turned to the gambling issue as proponents seek to expand gambling in the state of Indiana during this short legislative window.
Yet amid the bailouts, stimulus packages, gambling expansions and other questionable secular actions....this quiet move is about conviction, standing for your beliefs, strong leadership ...and just plain courage: to keep the issue of one man/one woman marriage alive. It also keeps the issue as a policy CONTENDER, keeping it in-play on the playing field (and one which IFI calls a "mission field").
Representative Turner suggested that while the amendment may not have a great chance of passage during this, an obviously-contentious emergency session, the important thing is that HJR 3 is a bonafide bill waiting to be heard. Ditto from all of us at IFI --- we will be heard!
Indiana Stonewall Democrats President Doug Meagher quickly e-mailed me a statement about the re-introduced legislation. Meagher said, "Sadly, Representatives Turner and Cheatham appear to be unaware that the ground has shifted on this and many other issues of concern to the LGBT community. Even more sadly, they are raising a unnecessary distraction when the fiscal needs of the State are far more important... The Indiana Stonewall Democrats take solace in the knowledge that Speaker Bauer and the House leadership are much more enlightened and progressive on the basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Indiana Equality hasn't updated it's member base about the proposed amendment and I've not seen any media releases. I'll update the post when they release a statement or at least e-blast their members.