Shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “Thank God!” could be heard from amendment opponents in the hallway outside the House chamber after the vote. Those religious expressions weren’t just reserved for the dramatic finish. For months, arguments of morality and belief have framed both sides.
Amendment supporters, including Republican Gov. Mike Pence, still draw upon a Biblical view of marriage that condemns same-sex unions. During the House debate, Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, argued that Hoosiers should be given the chance to express that belief at the ballot box: “Somebody said to me, ‘You know, Burton, part of your problem is you let your faith get in the way.’ I said, ‘I certainly hope so. I’m not ashamed of it and I’m not going to back away.’ “In months leading to Monday’s vote, faith-infused messages were as common from the likes of Whittney Murphy, a Pentecostal church member who holds the title of “faith organizer” with Freedom Indiana, a coalition of businesses, organizations, and churches opposing HJR-3.“Love leads every conversation that I have,” said Murphy. “We work with many denominations, many churches, and many people of different faiths. But one of the tenets of all faith communities is to love one another and treat each person as you want to be treated. The question is, Does HJR-3 meet that test?”Churches around the state are putting that question to lawmakers. Last November, more than 300 faith leaders signed a letter, posted online by Freedom Indiana, opposing the amendment. The letter said its signatories didn’t agree on whether the state should grant same-sex marriage. They did agree that the constitution wasn’t the right place to decide the issue.
Freedom Indiana’s faith organizers went a step beyond. They plugged into a growing grassroots movement and asked people in the pews to talk to legislators about family and friends affected by the issue.“It’s a very personal issue for many people,” said the Rev. Patricia Case, a minister in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.