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Lawmakers sideline same-sex marriage ballot until 2014

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Indiana's Republican House and Senate leaders said Thursday they will wait a year before they take up an effort to write a same-sex marriage ban into the state's constitution.

House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long said their respective caucuses decided the issue should wait until the 2014 session.

Long, R-Fort Wayne, and Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said they still support the amendment and believe it will win approval from lawmakers and voters, but they are wary of taking on the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on related cases this summer.

"It's inadvisable to even have that discussion at the moment, despite the importance of the issue, until the Supreme Court has given a red light or a green light," Bosma said.

Social conservatives in the House and Senate had pressed them to tackle the issue this year.

The first case before the Supreme Court involves California's constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage. The second concerns a federal law that denies gay couples who legally marry the right to obtain federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples.

Gay marriage is banned by constitution in 30 states. It is currently allowed in nine states — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington— and the District of Columbia.

Indiana lawmakers approved the constitutional ban in 2011 despite arguments from opponents that it was unnecessary because state law already limits marriage to being between one man and one woman. Supporters of writing the ban into the Indiana Constitution have said a judge could approve gay marriage by overturning state law.

Under the state's constitutional amendment process, lawmakers have until next year to consider putting the marriage ban before voters. The measure must pass the Legislature again before it can be put on a ballot. The measure passed in 2011 by a vote of 70-26 in the House and 40-10 in the Senate.

Thursday's decision means supporters of gay marriage and benefits for gay couples can rest easy for a year. Indiana Equality Action President Rick Sutton thanked Bosma and Long following the announcement.

"We're pretty happy today," Sutton said.

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  • Can't Believe It!
    Won't somebody think of Mr. Gingrich? His third marriage is in grave peril!
  • Let people live...
    Many people who consider themselves "ex-gay" were actually bi-sexual, not gay. If Steve is happy with his life, that is great! By the same token, however, one should not try to prevent someone else from their own happiness. As for our Legislature, I'm relived that Indiana escapes this second level of the amendment process for at least one more year. It is incredible to me that a party that prides itself on "small government" wants to prevent people from living out their lives as they wish.
  • Equality
    Greg - Maybe you found Jesus and a modern day miracle happened, which I assume is what you want everyone to believe, but your comments are damaging to many young kids dealing with homosexuality. You make it sound as if one can magically be transformed, but we both know you still have the same old feelings/emotions you've always had, you've just learned how to suppress those feelings to accommodate and conform to what your church and some in society want you to be. If you are happy, great, but you should be wary of using your situation as a false beacon of hope for others.
  • please
    that's a total load of bovine excrement and you know it. there is no such thing as a 'ex gay.'
  • Gay no more
    I used to be gay, but over SEVEN years ago Jesus set me FREE! I am now free from the sin of homosexuality. Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman according to the King James Bible (Genesis 2:24) so I am now married and my wife is pregnant by me. What's really cool is that now my life is not focused on "ME" I actually think about other's. More to the point, it's not about "ME" at all it's ALL about JESUS CHRIST! Jesus is Lord!!

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