Hershman said his concern was that the legality of gay marriage was being settled in courts instead of through legislative means. Indiana has a law that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. But Hershman said he saw a more fundamental argument being made in the courts.
“Those who have suggested that gay marriage is a fundamental right speak to it in constitutional terms,” Hershman said. “This isn’t something we made up. It’s been an evolving discussion, even at the Supreme Court levels, that this is a fundamental right. It puts it squarely in the context of our constitution.”
Hershman’s view — let the people decide — has become a landing zone for lawmakers as attitudes shift under their feet since they voted overwhelmingly in favor of the constitutional referendum in 2011.
The Indiana House voted 70-26 and the Indiana Senate voted 40-10 to advance the question in 2011. If approved by the General Assembly again in 2014, the question will be on the Indiana ballot next November.
“How would I vote on the referendum? That’s a personal issue between me and the ballot box,” said Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville. “My political position, as far as the resolution, is to let the people decide.”
Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-Lafayette, was one of 36 lawmakers to vote no on HJR-6 in 2011. She said she can feel some momentum from Freedom Indiana — the leading anti-amendment coalition in the state — and its allies. She talked about polls that show Hoosiers aren’t as willing to put limits on marriage as they were even two years ago. And she mentioned some changing views in the Statehouse, including those of Rep. Sean Eberhart, a Shelbyville Republican. Eberhart reversed course last week and said he’d vote against the measure in 2014. (“It is flat-out wrong,” Eberhart told The Shelbyville News. “This issue has changed.”)