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GOP: No 2013 vote on state gay-marriage-ban amendment

Will wait for U.S. Supreme Court guidance from pending cases

INDIANAPOLIS – State lawmakers will not vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage this year, GOP legislative leaders announced Thursday.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma said it makes sense to see what the U.S. Supreme Court rules on several pending cases before moving the Indiana process forward.

“We think it’s prudent to wait. We have 2014 to vote on it, “ Long said. “And if the Supreme Court gives the states a clean bill of health…then we will be able to move forward without any questions about the constitutionality of this provision.”

Lawmakers must pass the amendment a second time in order to send the matter to the public. Delaying until 2014 does not slow down the process because a statewide vote could not be held until the November 2014 election.

Indiana state law already limits marriage to between one man and one woman. But supporters want the law inserted into the constitution so judges can’t later overturn it. State courts have already upheld the law once.

The proposed amendment says: “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The second sentence would ban future legislators from enacting civil unions, and might affect a host of other laws. Several lawmakers have expressed concern about this language.

Public sentiment has shifted dramatically since Republicans started the process – then saying it was the most critical issue on the table.

A recent statewide poll by Ball State University found Hoosiers are evenly split on legalizing gay marriage, and only 38 percent support the constitutional ban.

Bosma dismissed the poll because it surveyed Hoosiers – not Hoosier voters. He said he has seen numerous other politically balanced polls that show support for the amendment, but he declined to share them.

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