Freedom Indiana calling out against HJR6

Org. massing volunteers for weekend phone bank

INDIANAPOLIS - As Hawaii this week became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage, a coalition of Hoosiers is battling against a proposed amendment to the state constitution which would ban same-sex unions.

Over the weekend, Freedom Indiana rallied volunteers for a phone blitz targeted at voters in 20 Indiana legislative districts. The purpose of the calls: To pressure lawmakers into opposing the amendment.

"I see it as our legislators are actually writing discrimination into our constitution," said volunteer Stephanie Denson. "What are we doing with that? That, to me, is just so wrong."

The amendment in question, House Joint Resolution 6 or HJR6, would codify marriage in the state of Indiana as being between only a man and a woman. It would also write a same-sex marriage ban into the state's constitution.

Earlier this week, the Indianapolis City-County Council, along with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, came out in opposition to the amendment, joining a number of universities, corporations and religious leaders calling on lawmakers to vote HJR6 down.

Indiana's Republican-controlled legislature passed the amendment in 2011, but the measure must pass a second time and be approved by voters before it's written into Indiana's constitution.

Freedom Indiana volunteer Laura Rinderkenecht says she feels the amendment would take away freedom from Hoosiers.

"I'm a teacher, and every day we say the Pledge of Allegiance  with our students," Rinderkenecht said. "And the Pledge ends with, 'Liberty and justice for all.' I feel that this amendment is taking away liberty and justice for a segment of Hoosiers, and I'm not OK with it."

Other volunteers with Freedom Indiana aren't either, which is why they said they'd already made more than 100,000 phone calls by Saturday afternoon.

"[Change] happens in rooms like this where we have Hoosiers calling other Hoosiers talking about what HJR6 is," said Peter Hanscom.

Ultimately, it could be up to voters to decide the fate of the amendment; if lawmakers pass HJR6 again this year it will return to voters next November for a statewide referendum.

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