HJR-3 Revised: Constitutional Amendment on Marriage Could Change Course

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 27, 2014 Updated Jan 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- A key part of a proposal to amend Indiana's Constitution, permanently banning same sex marriage, has been stripped out of the bill, by the Indiana House of Representatives.

We were at the Statehouse Monday, to report on what impact this could have on the issue.

The infamous second sentence in HJR-3 has been a source of great debate.

Several GOP lawmakers, who favor defining marriage as between one man and one woman, were uncomfortable with that provision, fearing it could eliminate employer health benefits in civil unions and other domestic partnerships.

It may not matter anymore, because Monday evening, the House made the second sentence go away.

" 52 ayes, 43 no’s, the motion carries."

Same sex marriage supporters, who were on hand for consideration of the amendment, cheered in the balcony, overjoyed by the result.

Minutes later, on a floor above, they held an impromptu rally.

“We won today, there's more winning to come."

We talked to one man who explained why the revision is so important.

" Personally for me, just having this struck out, makes it so much easier for me to go about and know my partner and I are protected and this is not going to hurt us," said Jesse Hawk of Fort Wayne, who drove down for the House vote.

The measure passed the legislature in 2011, but it needed to pass a second time in the exact same form to send it to Hoosier voters this fall.

The new development could essentially put the process back to square one.

Earlier in the day, the head of the Indiana Family Institute gave reasons why he was crossing his fingers for no revisions to be made.

“We hope it's not changed, not altered in any way. We'd like to see the process go forward, we think it's time for Indiana voters, for Hoosier citizens, to decide the place marriage should have in the state's public policy," said Curt Smith.

The House figures to vote on the amended HJR-3 either Tuesday or Wednesday.

It's now looking doubtful regular Hoosiers will get to weigh in for at least a couple more years, if ever.

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