In recent years we have seen states standing on the right side of history with the passage of many laws in favor of gay marriage. It unfortunately is a different story in the state of Indiana.
The state of Indiana is attempting to pass House Joint Resolution-3 or HJR-3. This bill would ban gay marriage in the state of Indiana, therefore not entitling gay Hoosiers the access to other rights and liberties that married couples receive. There is already a gay marriage ban written in state law, but HJR-3 is different in that the bill would have a gay marriage ban written into the state constitution making it more challenging to rescind. The Indiana House voted on the bill last week. The results were shocking.
As most people know, Indiana has a reputation for being a strongly conservative, Republican state. The House, by a vote of 57-40, voted last week to pass HJR-3 with some Republican legislators not happy with the way the current bill is written.The bill was passed with the exception to remove the second sentence from the bill. HJR-3 states, “Only a marriage between one man and one 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” (www.freedomindiana.org). What does this mean? The bill will now head to the state Senate where they will vote on HJR-3.
HJR-3 now heads to the Indiana State Senate where they will vote on the bill February 10th. Their vote will have 4 possible outcomes: Side with the House vote, Reinstate the second sentence of the bill, change the whole bill altogether, or reject it outright. With either possible outcome, the bill will go back to the House to vote on it again. Hoosiers all across the state, both straight and gay, are writing their state senators urging them to reject HJR-3. As for now, it seems that the bill will remain off the ballot for the November 2014 elections. This is a reprieve for the supporters of gay marriage in Indiana as it will give them more time to persuade their legislators to stand on the right side of history.
As an Indiana resident myself, I find it repulsive that states like Oklahoma and Virginia respectively, who should be more conservative than Indiana, are approving laws in support of gay marriage in recent weeks, or are getting close to that point. If HJR-3 is approved, it will give Indiana a negative reputation. I know I for one don’t want to be associated with a state that has that reputation.
I know most of the readers of this blog are gay men, and it’s clear how you probably feel about HJR-3. But I would like to hear your thoughts anyway. Those of you who are Indiana residents, would you stay in Indiana if it is passed? What are you doing to urge the legislators in your respective district to reject HJR-3?