Small Victory for LGBT Advocates in Indiana
February 10, 2014 by Lynne Bowman, Regional Field Director
After hours of testimony and debate on HJR-3, the Indiana Senate chose not to amend the language of the bill back to its original form before passing it to the full Senate floor by a vote of 8-4. This is a small victory for LGBT advocates as the bill in its current form resets the clock and must be passed in another term before it can be put on the ballot.
Opponents of HJR-3 again filled the Chamber and gave passionate testimony against the amendment.
Executives from Eli Lilly, Cummins, Indiana University, and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce testified to the difficulties of attracting talent to a state tainted by discrimination.
A UCC minister, the President of the Christian Theological Seminary, as well as the Chair of ICON testified to a division of beliefs within the Christian community on this issue, but highlighted the Bible’s lessons of love and equal treatment for all.
Ryan Pranger, a 7th generation Hoosier and DePauw student, testified to the real threat of “brain drain” HJR-3 poses for Indiana’s future.
Jennifer Fisher, a business recruiter from Ft Wayne and partner of a police officer, spoke about her fear of living in a more uncertain world for her family and the potential loss of her children.
Sam Ray- a native Hoosier, Navy veteran, and cancer survivor- spoke to the potential harm that would come to himself and his partner were HJR-3 to pass.
Scott Spychala, a 20-year Air Force veteran (and the man tossed from the House Elections committee hearing for giving a thumbs-down), told his own story as a gay man and shared other stories of his LGBT comrades.
Representatives from PFLAG and other proud parents spoke on behalf of their LGBT children.]
At the end of the testimony, Senate President Long asked anyone present and opposed to HJR-3 to stand. Nearly the entire gallery rose in unison.
“Thank you for being polite and reasonable people as we sit through a difficult hearing,” he then concluded before opening the floor for committee discussion. Following Senator Tim Lanane’s declaration that, “This proposal constitutes discrimination,” no further amendments were proposed to the bill. The roll call vote came back 8-4, falling along party lines. The bill will now move to the full Senate floor where a vote is expected later this week.
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