(STATEHOUSE) - House Speaker Brian Bosma is throwing cold water on a conservative group's bid to force a gay-marriage amendment onto this year's ballot.
The Washington-based National Organization for Marriage is floating the possibility of a lawsuit arguing that the first sentence of the amendment has passed the required two legislatures, even though the version which passed the House and Senate in 2011 included a second sentence banning civil unions.
Bosma (R-Indianapolis) confirms he met briefly with the group this week, but says the notion of a lawsuit didn't even come up. He joins Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) in saying he considers the law clear that amendments must pass two separate legislatures in the same form. That would mean a referendum can't occur until 2016.
And Bosma notes opponents who successfully deleted the civil-union clause also added a preamble explicitly declaring the amendment had to pass the General Assembly a second time to go to the voters. He says that clause should make the legal case against the effort ironclad.
Bosma rejects NOM charges that he broke a promise to bring the amendment to the voters this year. The speaker says he made two promises, verbally and in writing, and kept both of them: to bring the amendment to the full House, and to let all 100 members vote their conscience without arm-twisting.
Long has said he expects the Senate to hold hearings on the amendment next year. Bosma's not discussing what the House will do -- he says he's focused on the three weeks remaining in this year's session.
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