In a brief session this afternoon the Indiana Senate failed to offer any amendments to HJR-3, the state's proposed marriage discrimination amendment, meaning that the measure is dead for at least the rest of the year.
Indiana Public Media reports:
As the Senate session began, Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, indicated in a Tweet there wasn't enough support to reinsert the amendment's second sentence, which banned civil unions and was removed by the House last month.
By not including the second sentence in HJR-3, the legislature essentially restarts the process of amending the state constitution.
The legislature could still vote to pass the measure again next year and the year after, sending it to the voters for a referendum in 2016.
Freedom Indiana, the bipartisan statewide organization fighting the amendment, reacted jubilantly. A statement from campaign manager Megan Robertson is after the jump.
"Six months ago, if you'd said lawmakers would refuse to put this issue on the ballot in 2014 by stripping out the deeply flawed second sentence, I'd have said there's no way.
"What happened today at the Statehouse is a testament to the tens of thousands of Hoosiers who have shared their stories with lawmakers and with the public to show the harm this amendment would do to their families and our state. It's clear that lawmakers listened.
"We continue to oppose the amendment in any form, but make no mistake: This is a huge victory.
"We are grateful to lawmakers for their openness and transparency during this process, and we thank them for conducting the discourse in a civil, respectful manner. We also owe an incredible debt of gratitude to our coalition partners who believed in our mission from the outset and to the Hoosiers who selflessly gave their time, effort and resources to the campaign.
"Today will go down in Indiana history as a win for freedom."
Indeed, it will -- and it may ultimately go down in history as the day the amendment died altogether. Bilerico founder Bil Browning explains:
The one-sentence-only version of the amendment will have to pass a separately elected legislature (in 2015 or 2016) and conservative Governor Mike Pence has said he doesn't want it on the 2016 ballot when he's up for re-election. It's all about political theater at this point; in the end the legislation will die a slow death from neglect over the next couple of years. With so many court cases wending their way through the system currently, same-sex marriage could be legal nationwide by 2016.
I don't know about you, but I'm crossing my fingers that Bil's right on all counts.
Image source: Freedom Indiana, via Facebook.