Hoosiers react to committee vote on marriage amendment
A committee vote has sent Indiana's proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage to the full House for consideration.
The House Elections and Apportionment Committee passed the amendment 9-3. It now moves on for a second read before the full House.
"I think we all here can be...we are going to be a part of history with this vote tonight, we're all gonna be a part of history with the vote on the floor. I think we can all be on the right side of history with a 'No' vote, so Mr. Chairman, I vote 'No'," said Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne).
If the measure passes the General Assembly this session, it would go before Indiana voters in November.
"If marriage can mean anything or everything, then it means nothing. Marriage is between a man and a woman and I believe the people in Indiana are demanding the right to vote on whether to put that into their constitution. I vote 'Yes'," said Rep. Timothy Wesco (R-Osceola).
Hundreds of people watched the vote at the Statehouse Wednesday, but their reaction was measured by knowing the debate and vote is only the beginning.
Scott Spychala started off inside the House chamber Wednesday afternoon, listening to both sides of a debate that could decide how his home state sees gay marriage.
"I want to have that option available to me," said Spychala, who is gay and single.
Spychala didn't have the option to stay inside the chamber long, though, after he gave a thumbs down sign to some testimony and was escorted out.
"We were displaying peaceful gestures in regards to disapproval and approval at the hearing," he said.
So the retired United States Air Force veteran finished hearing the debate outside the chamber, only to find out with Wednesday's vote, the fight is just beginning.
"I live here in Indiana. I'm a Hoosier. This is not Hoosier Hospitality," said Spychala.
Outside the chambers, the debate stayed civil, but strained, between opposing sides.
Jocelyn Tandy-Adande wore a button in support of HJR3.
"I think in 92 counties, the citizens of the state of Indiana should have the opportunity to vote this issue up or down," said Tandy-Adande, who said her stance is based on her faith. "Marriage is an institution ordained by God, the creator of the universe. Man's law is never going to be above God's law."
Should the proposal get to the voters come November, both sides said they believe they're on the right side of the issue.
"We will win and that's why they don't want it to go to a vote," said Tandy-Adande.
"I think in the end we will win," said Annette Gross, who said she has a gay son and is part of PFLAG - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Spychala said he believes if it even gets to a November vote, it's Indiana who will lose.
"Indiana's going backwards and it's going to hurt Hoosiers," said Spychala.
He said the state will be thrust into the national spotlight of a debate that's going to get nasty.
"It will be an ugly campaign," he added.