Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Indiana HJR3 Passed Senate Committee - Danger of reintroducing Second Sentence by floor amendment

12 February 2014

For those of us who are concerned about the impact that Second Sentence in HJR3 would have on children reared in domestic partnerships as well as those partners who were the subjects of Domestic Violence the removal of Second Sentence by the House was a welcomed relief. After being moved from the House Judiciary Committee where it had stalled the Resolution passed out of the House Committee on Elections by the expected 9-3 vote. Eight amendments were proposed on the House Floor. The Resolution passed the House by a vote of 52-43 as amended by removing Second Sentence. On 10 February 2014 the House version passed out of the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure by a vote of 8-4. It now moves to the full Senate.

Like in the House the Resolution could be amended on the Senate Floor. The possibility exists that the Resolution could be amended to reintroduce Second Sentence. That extremely broad prohibition on State recognition of relationships similar to marriage could have an extremely adverse impact on some children. I explained in Same-Gender Parents and Child Custody Decisions – a report I submitted to the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure – how Second Sentence would impact Indiana Child Custody cases. I concluded that report by stating:
Allowing for the creation of a statutory scheme to recognize civil unions would bring same-gender couples into parity with married couples for the purpose of step-parent adoptions and child custody protections for the children of same-sex couples. Allowing for the passage of Second Sentence would ensure that in some instances a child could be legally cut-off from his or her true “parent” in the blink-of-an-eye with little or no legal recourse.

HJR3 now heads to the full Senate for a vote on Thursday 13 February 2014 during the 1:30 p.m. Session. If it passes as amended then it will go before the next session of the Indiana General Assembly in 2015.

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