But if it wasn’t clear before that HJR-3 is on shaky ground, House Bill 1153 was 2½ pages of stammering proof that the more you have to explain, the weaker your premise.
And that’s no position to leave a two-sentence constitutional amendment.
HB 1153 attempts to parse the proposed marriage question into what the General Assembly intends the constitutional amendment to be and what it doesn’t intend it to be.
Intended: Reaffirm Indiana’s existing law on marriage, which limits the definition to one between one man and one woman.
Not intended, according to HB 1153: To limit health benefits offered by private or public employers, to stop cities from adopting equal opportunity ordinances, to block anyone from terms of a will or power of attorney, or to affect Indiana’s domestic violence laws.
General Assembly leaders, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President David Long, said they stood by the addendum to the marriage amendment, seemingly persuading themselves that they’d given themselves a constitutional out from HJR-3’s criticized second sentence: “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
(Then again, Bosma famously offered this gem during a different fight in January 2012: “It’s not our job here to determine the constitutionality of something before we vote on it.”)Rep. Turner can't help himself, but as an attorney, Bosma should be totally ashamed of this gibberish being seriously offered for consideration to the state's voters for the worst of reasons. Is it your intent to give the opposition all the motivation they need to drive voters to the polls this fall to unseat as many of your legislators as possible? Let's hope that cooler, more rational heads in the caucus prevail at the end of the day and put an end to this inevitable train wreck.