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Rep. McNamara Raises Concerns Over HJR 3

The Mount Vernon Republican says one part of the resolution has her thinking twice before making a decision.
The full Indiana House is expected to take up the proposed gay marriage amendment Monday. But Representative Wendy McNamara says one part of the resolution has her thinking twice before making her vote. The Mount Vernon Republican says the problem is with the resolution's second sentence focusing on banning civil unions. Political analysts say concerns of her and other lawmakers can send the whole process back to square one.

It only takes a couple of seconds to read.  But this one sentence can have ramifications for years.

"Basically, it says that anything similar or in comparison to that of marriage shall not be recognized as legal in Indiana," says Rep. McNamara.

Representative Wendy McNamara says the resolution's ban on same sex civil unions should be taken out of HJR 3.  She says it can be misinterpreted because some could translate it as prohibiting same partner benefits.  It's a major factor in how she'll vote.

"If I go forward with this, I will support it if that second sentence is removed," she says. "But I will not if that sentence is still in there." But getting rid of one sentence could sentence the resolution to failure.

"The world is not the same as it was the last time they voted on this," says Robert Dion of the Univ. of Evansville. "That is very clear."

Dion says changing it could force lawmakers to start the process over since a resolution must pass in the same language for it to go to the voters. A process some lawmakers don't want to restart.

"The leadership is saying, 'We don't care if you have misgivings. We have to pass this now, or else we have to plan on fighting this through 2016.' And the Governor has said that's not an attractive prospect for him," he says. But some lawmakers believe losing one sentence can save them a lot of trouble and time.

"I don't know if there's enough support to have that happen or not. But, in my perspective, it would help remove a lot of doubt or questions surrounding it."

If the process has to start over, McNamara says she has no idea if the General Assembly would be willing to go through two more years of debate.

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