IN Senate committee passes same sex marriage amendment 8 to 4

Indiana’s proposed same sex marriage amendment is headed to the floor of the state senate.

The Senate Rules Committee today approved the measure by a vote of 8 to 4.

The vote came after more than three hours of public testimony.

“I encourage you to vote against HJR 3,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Spychala. The U.S. Dept. of Defense has acknowledged that gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are fit to serve this country. Don’t you think we are fit to legally be united? We have served you, now it is your time to serve us.”

Today’s hot topic was the so-called ‘second sentence’ that was removed in the house. It would have banned civil unions and other legal arrangements similar to marriage. Without the second sentence, the HJR 3 simply defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“We think the full amendment is necessary because, again, if you don’t defend marriage you just define it, those courts have overturned those,” said Curt Smith with the Indiana Family Institute.

“The reality is that civil unions do not serve as a compromise or a middle ground, this is evidenced in the many states, every single state that has passed civil unions around this country, within a year, sometimes, sometimes longer, they’ve always, the same sex marriage advocates have come back and passed same sex marriage,” said Kellie Fiedorek with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Stephen Fry with Eli Lilly said passage of the amendment and the “campaign” that would precede the November referendum would be hurtful to the concept of Hoosier Hospitality. “At Lilly we respectfully encourage the senate to set aside HJR 3, or at a minimum, not reinstate the second sentence which so many people believe is an over reach that would potentially hurt so many Hoosiers.”

Jennifer Fisher is an employment recruiter in the Fort Wayne area who said the measure would impact her professionally and personally. At a time when she and her partner are planning to have children, Fisher fears she would have no legal parental rights should her partner die.

“At very least, if you cannot vote ‘no’ completely on HJR 3 leave out the second sentence because that is the sentence that means that I have no protection with my family, it means that my partner and I have no valid relationship in Indiana. I’m not asking you to believe that my life or my loves are right or wrong, I’m just asking you to protect my rights,” said Fisher.

If the second sentence is not restored to the resolution, the proposed constitutional amendment would not go before voters this November. HJR 3 should be eligible for Senate amendments later this week.

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