If the lightning speed of yesterday's Senate session surprised you, you're not alone.
Here's a condensed version of what went down:
State Senators Mike Delph, R-Carmel, and Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, filed proposals yesterday prior to the Senate's scheduled convening at 1:30 (or thereabouts) that would have reinserted the second sentence into HJR 3. The original language, remember, was as follows:
"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."
That second sentence was especially troubling to business leaders (like Lilly, Cummins, IU, Emmis, the Indy Chamber, do we need to go on?) because of the legal ramifications - there was worry about the ability of these companies to extend benefits to same sex couples if one or both partners was employed by a company that offered said benefits.
For HJR 3 to make the ballot in November, the language had to remain intact, and with the House moving to strip the second sentence, the process of amending the state constitution would require a reboot.
Delph tweeted the following before the session got underway:
HJR3 second sentence is officially dead in the 2014 IGA. Not enough support to reinsert it on 2nd reading. - Mike Delph (@MikeDelph) February 13, 2014
HJR3 second sentence is officially dead in the 2014 IGA. Not enough support to reinsert it on 2nd reading.
— Mike Delph (@MikeDelph) February 13, 2014
At the second reading of HJR 3, no one in the chamber called for any action at all. A cheer could be heard from the hallway as opponents celebrated - the GOP had effectively "kicked the can down the road."
Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, spoke to reporters after the session wrapped a short time later, including our Rebecca Townsend.
Delph took to Twitter to express his disappointment - and informed those who weren't aware that his brother Steve was gay. The Senator wound up sparring with a number of critics, ultimately tweeting the following at 1 am Friday morning:
And that folks is our self absorbed Godless culture that is fast tracking our nation to ruin. Point made. Night! - Mike Delph (@MikeDelph) February 14, 2014
And that folks is our self absorbed Godless culture that is fast tracking our nation to ruin. Point made. Night!
— Mike Delph (@MikeDelph) February 14, 2014
Freedom Indiana had quite a different take:
INDIANAPOLIS - Freedom Indiana campaign manager Megan Robertson issued this statement following today's Senate vote to move forward with only the first sentence of HJR-3, the proposed same-sex marriage ban that has dominated the legislative session.
The deeply flawed second sentence would have permanently prohibited civil unions, domestic partnerships and other legal protections for same-sex couples and families. The Indiana House removed it earlier in the session, and the Senate today did not offer any amendments to the House version of the amendment.
"Six months ago, if you'd said lawmakers would refuse to put this issue on the ballot in 2014 by stripping out the deeply flawed second sentence, I'd have said there's no way.
"What happened today at the Statehouse is a testament to the tens of thousands of Hoosiers who have shared their stories with lawmakers and with the public to show the harm this amendment would do to their families and our state. It's clear that lawmakers listened.
"We continue to oppose the amendment in any form, but make no mistake: This is a huge victory.
"We are grateful to lawmakers for their openness and transparency during this process, and we thank them for conducting the discourse in a civil, respectful manner. We also owe an incredible debt of gratitude to our coalition partners who believed in our mission from the outset and to the Hoosiers who selflessly gave their time, effort and resources to the campaign.
"Today will go down in Indiana history as a win for freedom."
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!
UPDATE: Delph (whose Tweets can be found @MikeDelph) tweeted the following just this morning:
No interviews today. I will be making an announcement Monday morning that you won't want to miss. Friends and foe alike! Happy weekend!
— Mike Delph (@MikeDelph) February 14, 2014
UPDATE No. 2: Indiana Talks has collected some of Delph's more interesting Tweets if you're not up for scrolling through the whole feed.