The battle to bring the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage to a vote for Hoosiers is headed back to the House floor.
The House Elections and Apportionment Committee passed the amendment 9-3. It now moves on for a second read before the full house.
Supporters on both sides of the issue packed the room at the Statehouse for Wednesday's hearing.
The bill was moved from the House Judiciary Committee to the House Elections and Apportionment Committee in what some called an unusual step. Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma re-assigned the bill because he was concerned it didn't have the votes in the Judiciary Committee to make it to the House floor for a vote.
Democrat State Representative Ed Delaney says it's Bosma's intentional move to strong-arm the bill.
The GOP Speaker says it's all about fulfilling a promise to the people of Indiana. "I said early on that I wasn't going to ask anyone to vote anything other than their conscience," said Bosma. "And (I) also was going to do my best to make sure representatives of the people had the chance to speak on the issue and vote on it. So, this was the least disruptive to make that happen."
Delaney, who represents Indianapolis, doesn't think the hearing will be fair. "If I'm a person who's a opposed to this amendment, how do I feel going in front of a second committee who's hand-picked to make sure I lose?" Delaney asked. "I give those people credit if they're willing to testify against this measure in front of that committee. But, they have to ask themselves, 'am I getting a fair hearing?' The answer is no, you're not getting a fair hearing."
The House Elections and Apportionment Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the bill and possibly vote this afternoon.
"It's really common procedure to move a bill from one committee to another. I've probably moved 15," Bosma said. "(Same-sex marriage) is just a really high-profile one. It's really standard procedure and it happens frequently."
"We had the testimony. All we had to do was take the vote," said Delaney. "He freezes the action and replaces the committee. He doesn't do that all the time. I haven't seen that before in six sessions."
If the new committee approves the bill, it goes back to the house and senate for approval so Hoosiers can vote on it in November.
The new committee is expected to hear and possibly vote on the issue this afternoon.