Proposed Indiana gay marriage ban clears house panel

Thu. January 23, 2014 10:56 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Indianapolis, IN - An Indiana House panel on Wednesday approved a proposed constitutional amendment which would prohibit the state from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with marriage, civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

After more than 4 hours of debate, the 13-member House Elections and Appointment Committee voted 9-3 with one absence in favor of advancing the measure to the full House.

The vote came a day after House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican from Indianapolis, pulled the proposed ban out from the House Judiciary Committee, where support appeared weak after a hearing last week, to the House Elections and Appointment Committee, where all 9 Republicans voted for the measure.

Rep. Eric Turner, a Republican from Cicero, introduced the measure in 2011. It easily cleared the House and Senate with bipartisan support. However, a second vote is needed before the amendment can head to voters in November.

Turner called on committee members to advance the bill.

"We've been debating this since 2004.It's time to put this debate to rest and let Hoosier voters decide," he said.

Freedom Indiana, the coalition of groups working to derail the proposal, put out a statement after the vote saying members were "disappointed."

"We're disappointed, but we're more disappointed in the jury-rigged process than the outcome today. The traditional legislative path for this divisive amendment was completely upended when Speaker Bosma decided he had to switch committees to shore up enough Republican votes to move it to the floor."

Opponents of the measure, who outnumbered supporters, testified that it was unnecessary since Indiana law already bans same-sex marriage and that it would hurt the state's business climate.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine