A Brief History of Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment
I try to follow and post about the Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment every time it’s come up in the Indiana State Legislature, and here is a short history that I’ve been able to cobble together from past posts. This is mainly a testimony to my sketchy blogging more than anything else, as I seem to have often failed to follow up on posting about the outcomes of various bills. I’ll attempt to update this page with more research on bilerico.com and the Indiana legislative archives when I we are not in the middle of a legislative fight and when my internet is a lot more reliable than it is today.
In January of 2014, HJR-6 was re-named HJR-3 and introduced to the House Judiciary Committee. It got stuck in committee because it didn’t have the votes to move, so Brian Bosma moved it to the Elections Committee where it passed.
In January of 2013, HJR-6 (which is now the current bill HJR-3) was filed but never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers indicated that they preferred to wait until the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act were announced.
In March 2011, HJR-6 (which is now the current bill HJR-3) was being pushed through the state legislature for the first time. The LGBT Community held a rally to protest it.
In February of 2008, SJR-7 died after Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City refused to hear the legislation in the House.
In January of 2008, Representative Eric Turner, ranking Republican on the House Rules and Legislative Policy Committee, tried to amend a property tax bill to add SJR-7 after it looked like it would never make it out of committee to be heard.
On April 3rd, 2007, SJR-7 died in committee, unable to make it out of the Indiana House of Representative’s Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.
On March 29th, SJR-7 testimony to the House Committee for SJR-7 revealed that the language in it had been rejected for the federal version of this amendment by Robert Bork because it was too ambiguous.
In the spring of 2007, SJR-7 became was being pushed through a house committee.
On February 8th of 2007, SJR-7 passed the Indiana Senate and was sent to a House committee to be heard.
On January of 2007, SJR-7, an Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment was re-introduced to the State Lesgislature.
On March 8th of 2005, we held a rally to oppose SJR-7, the first wave of an attempt to pass the Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment. This was the language of SJR-7:
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
Notice the second sentence of that bill – at time, we noted how flawed the language of the second sentence (different language than today’s HJR3, but still really flawed and problematic) was.
Prior to SJR-7 in 2005: There was a great deal of awareness in Indiana that a Marriage Discrimination Amendment was probably coming. There was an attempt to pass one on a federal level in 2003-2004 before the plan was blocked in Senate and the failure of Massachusetts ban on same-sex marriage and subsequent marriages triggered a flurry of activity in red states like our when opponents of same-sex marriage rights realized their days were numbered.
I really think there was a prior attempt at an amendment in the late 1990s or early 2000s, because I recall when I was more politically active in LGBT Fairness that we covered the issue and when we were fighting the state statute. I don’t have specific bill numbers or information about those attempts yet.