Speaker of the House of Representatives Brian Bosma Tuesday moved House Joint Resolution 3, which would ban same-sex marriage through Indiana’s Constitution, and related House Bill 1153 from the House Judiciary Committee to the Elections and Apportionment Committee. The move led Democrats to accuse the speaker of “changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
Bosma said he moved the legislation due to the desire of Republicans to get it to the House floor for a vote. HJR 3 and HB 1153 were heard last week in the Judiciary Committee. Committee chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, ended the hours-long hearing by announcing the members would not be voting so they could weigh the testimony they had heard.
Bosma said Steuerwald told him he wasn’t sure if the amendment would pass the committee.
Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, introduced HJR 3, the marriage amendment which bans same-sex unions, and his companion legislation, House Bill 1153, which serves to explain the Legislature’s intent primarily behind the controversial second sentence of the proposed constitutional provision.
Senate Democrat Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said in a statement after Bosma made the change, “Instead of letting hours of testimony and the democratic process play out, the Speaker of the House has decided to start the clock over. Sometimes the legislative process does not garner the expected result, but that does not mean one gets to change the rules in the middle of the game.
“Those who spent hours testifying before the House Judiciary Committee will now have to take additional leave from their workplaces and daily routines to plead their case before an entirely new committee. This is a disservice to those who have taken time to be a part of the democratic process and continues to prevent us from focusing on the real issues that Hoosier families expect us to address.”
When Bosma announced his agenda for the 2014 legislative session, he said the same-sex marriage amendment was not one of his priorities, but he would like the amendment to go before voters.
If the proposed amendment is passed by both the Indiana House and Senate this session, the measure will appear on the November ballot.
The House Elections and Apportionment Committee meets Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. to discuss HJR3 and HB 1153. These are the only bills on the committee’s schedule.