INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Activists slugging it out over a proposed constitutional amendment banning
gay marriage are turning their focus to the Indiana Senate as the
legislative battle enters its second round of the 2014 session.
Freedom Indiana, the umbrella group opposing House Joint Resolution 3, asked
their supporters to begin dialing up senators to express their opposition.
Meanwhile, supporters of HJR 3 sent out blast notices urging members of the
Senate to restore the “second sentence” of the measure, a ban on civil
unions that was removed in the House earlier this week.
The second sentence
could also potentially ban employer benefits for same-sex couples. Removing
that part of measure was a small victory, but opponents will still look to
defeat the measure outright, said Jennifer Wagner, spokeswoman for Freedom
“It’s two tracks,”
Wagner said. “We’d obviously love to see it defeated. But if that’s not a
possibility, than the best outcome for us is the second sentence stays out.”
approved the altered version of the ban Tuesday afternoon, one day after
they had removed the ban on civil unions. If Senators approve the amended
House bill, it will likely delay a referendum on the amendment until 2016.
But supporters of
the proposed ban could find a way to get the measure back on track for the
November election. Republicans control the Senate 37-13, and the proposed
ban sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support in 2011.
still believes that Hoosiers should have the opportunity to vote on November
4th to protect marriage between one man and one woman. In order to do this,
Advance America will be working with Senators to add the language back into
HJR 3 that was taken out in the House of Representatives on January 27th so
Hoosiers can vote November 4th to protect marriage,” wrote Advance America,
one of the groups supporting HJR 3, in a message to their supporters urging
them to lobby their senators.
One of the
potentially most powerful voices on the issue, Republican Gov. Mike Pence,
has stood largely by the sidelines during the legislative debate.
Pence included a
request in State of the State address that lawmakers settle the marriage
question this year, and he rallied hundreds of HJR 3 supporters gathered at
an Indianapolis hotel last week.
But Pence’s staff
said Wednesday he would not answer questions about anything other than the
state’s propane shortage during a Statehouse news conference, and Pence
declined to answer questions about the issue as he left the event.
Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, is scheduled to talk about the measure’s
prospects in the Senate on Thursday morning.