After three-and-a-half hours of testimony today in Indianapolis, Greg Steuerwald, chairman of the Indiana House Judiciary Committee, decided not to take a vote on HJR-3, a bill that would add a gay marriage ban to the state’s constitution.
From the Indy Star:
Steuerwald said after the hearing that the committee ran out of time before the House was scheduled to convene at 1:30 p.m. and that several committee members told him they "wanted time to reflect on the testimony."
The Hoosier State already has a law that forbids same-sex marriage, yet this amendment would make it more permanent. Steuerwald’s decision to delay the vote also leaves its companion bill in the air -- a measure that states the amendment should not deny employer health benefits to same-sex couples or neglect local ordinances that prohibit discrimination.
During the lengthy debate, HJR-3 opponents warned that the bill could prevent them from attracting students and employees who believe in gay marriage.
Other gay marriage proponents like Freedom Indiana are encouraging Hoosiers to rally against the legislation tonight and “protect Indiana’s families,” claiming the “anti-freedom” amendment would hurt the state’s economy.
However, traditional marriage supporters also have plenty of evidence on their side to suggest a home with both a mother and father is most advantageous for the economy. Statistics show that children in father-absent homes, for instance, are almost four times more likely to be poor than those who live with a mother and father.
But, the best argument of the debate, I thought, required no numbers. Here’s what Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, said when explaining his support for HJR-3:
"It's not in the power of either the church or the state to redefine marriage, as God is its author," he said.
The fate of HJR-3 remains to be seen, but the House and Senate must approve the amendment again before it is placed on the November ballot, when voters will have the final say.