More than 400 members of Freedom Indiana showed up at the Statehouse on Monday morning to listen to over 3 hours worth of testimony both for and against HJR-3 (formerly known as HJR-6), along with a smattering of people who support the amendment.
Mark A. Lee
By John Sittler
House Speaker Brian Bosma said he's "exploring all kinds of" options for moving a constitutional marriage amendment out of committee and onto the House floor.
The amendment - which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman - is currently stalled in the House Judiciary Committee where several of its 13 members haven't said publicly how they'll vote on the measure.
The committee took testimony on the amendment Monday but no vote is scheduled.
Bosma acknowledged he's thought about replacing committee members or he could move the amendment to a different committee.
"I'm exploring all kinds of things," he said. "I'm going to listen to our caucus."
Indiana legislative rules give the speaker power to adjust committee members as he sees fit.
Bosma has previously replaced committee members between legislative sessions but never in the middle of one.
"You couldn't change the numbers (of Republicans and Democrats) but the members serve at the pleasure of the speaker," he said.
Bosma's comments came shortly after Republican leaders saw the results of an internal poll on the issue. Bosma said the poll - conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting - found 80 percent of voters want the opportunity to cast a ballot on the question.
The group surveyed 800 people and the poll results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Bosma said the poll reinforced his support of both House Joint Resolution 3 and accompanying House Bill 1153, which describes legislative intent.
"The biggest take away for me was that 80 percent of Hoosiers want a vote on the issue. That means people on both sides of the issue would like to have the opportunity to speak on it," he said.
The poll also found that 54 percent of Hoosiers want to take out the controversial second sentence of HJR 3 which bans any legal arrangement that is "identical or substantially similar" to marriage.
But 54 percent of people also said in the poll they would vote in favor of the amendment with the second sentence still in it.
Bosma said removing the sentence is not currently "Plan A."
John Sittler is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.
Readers will remember that, among other activities this session, leaders: chose marriage definition as an issue of prime importance; determined that pre-K education was important enough to fund a limited pilot program; dipped into their rainy day transportation fund to try to catch up with back-logged transportation infrastructure projects; and, finally, gave Central Indiana residents the right to vote on funding mass transit improvements - as long as they don't involve light rail.