Yesterday's Indy Star has an article about SJR-7 that quotes Democratic Speaker of the House Pat Bauer.
Bauer promised that he'd allow a vote on the amendment this year and it looks like he intends to keep that promise. (Although if it were me, I'd have pushed it back till next year to allow other allies to come into the fray. Universities, for example, have been noticeably reticent to come out forcibly in a budget year. He could have allowed for a vote next year and still satisfied the Constitutional requirement of two consecutively elected legislatures!) You'll notice though that Bauer never said that the amendment that would be voted on wouldn't be amended or changed.
Now, Bauer is hinting that this might be where he's going with this. Will they amend SJR-7 to remove that particularly heinous Part B?
A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage will get a key hearing before an Indiana House committee next week. But a provision that critics say could have unintended consequences could be removed, a top lawmaker suggested today.
Proponents of the amendment have said that if any of the language changes, it would restart the lengthy process of amending the constitution. But House Speaker Patrick Bauer, who has consulted attorneys on the matter, said the section that specifically bans same-sex marriage could still advance even if another provision is removed.
"I think that might be the case, but we'll see," said Bauer, D-South Bend.
House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, has said that changing the wording would restart the process and has repeatedly voiced concern that Democrats would alter the proposal's language.
Bauer said that would occur only through the committee process and if those concerned about the second provision showed up for the hearing and presented a competent case.
"I've said before, the process will run its course," he said.
The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before the House Rules Committee.
So let's go back over that last part... Bauer comes right out and says that there are two main reasons why the amendment would be changed: 1) Opponents show up to the committee hearing and 2) Opponents present a "competent case."
In regards to the first point, we have to ensure that we pack that room with people, folks. If Bauer wants to see opponents show up at the hearing, let's show him as many people as we can possibly muster. As for number two, we can only hope that Indiana Equality has lined up quality presenters for the hearing. (As far as I know, no other org has been approached by legislators about having a presenter present. IE lobbyist Mark St. John decided who would testify in front of the Senate hearing last month.) Let's pray that unlike at the Senate hearing, this time we have a Constitutional scholar there to testify against SJR-7. The right-wing brought in "scholars" from around the nation to testify that SJR-7 was peachy keen - even though those same "scholars" also testified in the same states that have had unintended consequences and told their legislators that nothing would happen. While their "scholars" are obviously bogus, we should at least have one this time.
And don't forget that the grassroots summit meeting will be this Sunday night at 6pm. We'll be meeting at Boulevard Place Cafe again - 42nd and Boulevard Place in Indianapolis. We will discuss ways that we can help the fight against SJR-7 in this critical period. Come and bring a friend!