As the legislative session has begun, the same-sex marriage amendment has seen a change in number: HJR 6 is now HJR 3. It also seems to have its own significant other, a companion bill that seeks to clarify the language of 6/3.
IND. LAW - BILL INTRODUCED TO PUT SAME-SEX REQUIREMENT IN IND. CONSTITUTION, ALONG WITH LANGUAGE ABOUT LEGISLATIVE INTENT [UPDATED]
This year's version of HJR 6 has been introduced today in the Indiana House, as HJR 3, which (the renumbering) isn't that unusual. What is unusual is the companion bill, HB 1153.
SECTION 2 of HB 1153, which sets out the phrasing of the question that would be included on the 2014 ballots if HJR #3 passes this year, is standard for constitutional amendments.
SECTION 1, however, which would add a new IC 1-1-5.6 to the Indiana Code, creating a new Chapter 5.6, "Marriage Amendment to the State Constitution," attempts to put into statutory law the intent of this year's General Assembly. (I'd include some of the language, but I'm having a frustrating time with the new GA website.)
Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 9, 2014 09:47 AM
Posted to Indiana Law
INDIANAPOLIS - Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan Robertson issued this statement today following the filing of HJR-3 (formerly HJR-6), the divisive amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would permanently define marriage and would remove existing protections under law for same-sex and unmarried couples and families.
Proponents of altering the Constitution also filed a companion bill seeking to explain away the ambiguity and potential harm of the amendment's second sentence.
"Supporters of the amendment seem to finally understand that the language they want to permanently insert into our state's founding document is deeply flawed.
"Unfortunately, instead of addressing the amendment's defects through proper channels, they're trying to sidestep and obfuscate the process by introducing a bill they think explains away the potential harm to Hoosier families. The bill is as troublesome as the amendment itself, which was renumbered to further confuse Hoosiers.
"In its official printed form, the amendment is 12 lines. The companion bill is 73 lines. Explaining the amendment shouldn't take six times as many words as the amendment itself.
"The solution here is as simple as the math: either scrap the current language and start over, or better yet, admit that our Constitution is not the proper place to have this debate.
"We continue to believe that those trusted with making our state's laws will see that this divisive fight in no way helps our state move forward and sends a terrible message that Indiana believes some Hoosiers should be more protected than others under our Constitution."
Masson's Blog sums things up thusly:
This is just backward. The General Assembly does not get to say what the Constitution does or does not do. The Constitution gets to say what the General Assembly can or cannot do. Furthermore, the General Assembly's intent is not the only relevant consideration. A Constitutional Amendment is also passed by the voters. Perhaps their intent is different than that of the General Assembly? If the intent of the voters is different than that of the General Assembly's, whose intent governs? Also worth keeping in mind, the next General Assembly could just come along and repeal this law while the Constitution would continue to contain the language of HJR 6/3. - See more at: http://www.masson.us/blog/nix-six-half-way-there-hjr-6-is-now-hjr-3/#sthash.pseOC8Pj.dpuf
Ed Wenck has been writing for NUVO (as well as several other Indiana publications) for nearly 20 years while moonlighting as a radio host. He became Managing Editor of NUVO in 2013. He's authored four books and also reports for WISH-TV's Boomer TV program.