The amendment to define marriage and something-something-something and place it in the Indiana Constitution has been HJR-6 for quite some time. Bills and resolutions get their numbers based on when they're filed, and this one has been HRJ-6 for several years, both when it received hearings in committee and when it hasn't. So it is quite interesting that now, in the 2014 legislative session that may very well pass it and put it on a ballot in November, it has changed from HJR-6 to HJR-3.
Opponents of the amendment have already produced yard signs and other merchandise using "HJR-6" or "Nix 6". I predict the Freedom Indiana folks will be ordering a massive amount of "3" stickers soon.
HJR-3 in and of itself is only two sentences long. But it is accompanied by HB 1153. At first glance, HB 1153 is fairly innocent. It sets up the ballot measure if HJR-3 passes, establishing the wording that would be used if and when HJR-3 is put to a public vote, and that sort of stuff. But HB 1153 also attempts to establish legislative intent and interpret what HJR-3 means legally.
To my non-legally trained mind, that sounds kind of illegal. Legislative statute shouldn't define or interpret a constitutional provision. In fact, it is a constitution that defines what a legislature's powers are, not the other way around. And even if it could, the companion bill could be struck down by a court or repealed by a later legislature.
This Saturday, Mark Small and I will be hosting Civil Discourse Now and discussing the HJR-3 issue. I'm sure we'll also be addressing the more broad issues of marriage equality and other issues concerning the LGBT community.
Joining us on the show will be a couple of good folks from Freedom Indiana. Campaign manager Megan Robertson and deputy campaign manager Peter Hanscom will be calling in during the broadcast. Regular readers of the blog will remember Megan running Mayor Greg Ballard's re-election campaign in 2011. She has worked a long time in Republican electoral politics and has been an interesting choice to run this very different campaign.
Also joining us will be LGBT activist Tanya Domi. She was on the show last September when we last discussed marriage equality.
We are working on getting a guest who are for the passage on HJR-3. While Mark and I both have our views, we are eager to get all views out as part of our discussion. All guests will be treated fairly with respect.
We will air this show live, Saturday, at 11am-1pm. You can tune in via Indiana Talks' website, or download the "Tunein Radio" app on your smartphone or tablet and point it to "Indiana Talks".