"We are building a coalition of the willing and looking for legislators who are willing to join in this task," said Chris Plante, regional director of NOM.
"We understand it will be heavy lifting, but if we all work together, we believe we have the law on our side. And we believe HJR-3 should go to the people in November 2014 as was promised by legislature on multiple occasions," said Plante.The issue revolves around the amendment that removed the second part of HJR-3 this year before its passage, which would have extended Indiana's ban on same-sex marriages to include civil unions and other forms of legal recognition that equate to marriage-like benefits for same-sex couples. The Indiana Constitution requires that a proposed amendment be approved by two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before being placed on the ballot. The prevailing legal view is that the amendment must be approved in the same form both times; otherwise, the process begins anew, which is what the legislature purported to do with passage of HJR-3 this year. The version passed by both the House and Senate this year expressly states that it is to be "referred to the next General Assembly for reconsideration and agreement."
There is apparently precedent for constitutional amendments being placed on the ballot after minor, non-substantive changes were made when the proposed amendment was approved by the second General Assembly. The question becomes whether the substantive change from the removal of the second sentence was enough to be considered more substantive in nature rather than a technical change. My guess is that a court would defer to the legislative determination that removal of the second sentence significantly changed the proposal so that it requires approval by the next General Assembly, but anything is possible I suppose. The view is that Gov. Mike Pence doesn't want HJR-3 to be on the ballot in 2016 when he runs for re-election. Perhaps he's supportive of this effort to get it on the ballot this year instead.