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Gay marriage rulings clear path for Indiana battle

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A pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage issued Wednesday quickly re-set the stage for a Statehouse battle over writing Indiana's ban into the constitution.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, quickly said the General Assembly would take up the ban next session, possibly putting the question to voters in 2014. The Supreme Court struck down a ban on federal benefits for same-sex couples and effectively dismissed a ban in California, but left untouched state laws limiting marriage to being between one man and one woman.

"The members of the General Assembly will be fully equipped to address the issue of the constitutional amendment in the coming legislative session, and with today's decision, I am confident the matter will come before the General Assembly and ultimately be placed on a referenda ballot for voter consideration," Bosma said in a statement.

Voters will not decide whether gay marriage is legalized in Indiana, however, only whether the state's existing ban is solidified in the constitution.

Gov. Mike Pence, weighing in on the issue for the first time as governor, said he supports a stronger ban.

"I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman and is a unique institution worth defending in our state and nation. For thousands of years, marriage has served as the glue that holds families and societies together and so it should ever be," Pence said.

Gay marriage opponents in Indiana had sought to vote on a constitutional ban this year, but Long and Bosma chose to wait for the court's rulings. The battle is now on, opponents and supporters said.

"We hope (lawmakers) will forsake HJR6 (the ban), but we are preparing to launch a grassroots educational outreach campaign opposing the amendment should they pursue its passage," Indiana Equality Action President Chris Paulsen said Wednesday.

American Family Association of Indiana and other groups will be lining up on the other side.

"The Supreme Court's decision in no way took this important issue away from Indiana," said Executive Director Micah Clark. "The future of marriage matters, and it belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters, not the courts, not Hollywood, and not the activists seeking to change it from what it is and always has been - the union of a man and a woman."

National public opinion has swung sharply on the issue of gay marriage in the last decade, but it's not clear whether there has been much movement in Indiana. A poll conducted by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs for WISH-TV last December found that a majority of voters opposed amending the state's ban into the constitution, but were evenly split on the question of whether gay marriage should be legal.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said he is counting on that shifting tide to carry his argument against the ban inside the Statehouse and outside, if the ban makes its way onto the ballot.

"For those who are under 40 years old, this is not even a debate," Pelath said.

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  • Do-nothing Indiana legislators
    Having done nothing- not one thing! - to help Indiana's fiscal status and unemployment, the Republicans desperately ask you to vote with them on people they hate! -vote 'em out and lets move on to ACTUAL issues. Love is not for legislatures to worry about.
  • Equal Protection
    Equal protection under the law. Being able to file a joint tax return - gay or straight - is discrimination against those of use who are single. Abolish marriage benefits all together!
  • Shame
    It's unfortunate that politicians like Pence and Bosma will continue to waste time and resources playing a losing political game with people's rights. They are a disgrace and embarrassment to the people of Indiana on this issue.
  • Wow....
    I'm a transplant to this state a few years ago and have to say the state legislators here are a COMPLETE and TOTAL disgrace/embarrassment/shame. Can't believe how they have lobbyists in their pockets (e.g. Sunday alcohol sales) and focus on non-issues (e.g. gay marriage) instead of things that will move the state forward. I just can't say enough about what a bunch of tools they seem to be.
  • Those Were The Days
    Back when I was a Republican, the party stood for individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, and a cautious approach to international affairs. Now it stands for subsidizing the military-industrial corpocracy and controlling the behavior of anyone who isn't an evangelical. Ick.
  • Yay for Indiana
    Now the moral and intellectual titans who populate our legislature can turn their attention to enshrining bigotry and hatred into the state constitution.
  • Why do we want to restrict others rights
    Voting on gay marriage is like voting on whether blacks should be able to marry whites. Why are too many Republicans always interested in taking away rights from others?
  • Really, Elaine? Really?
    Will your dog be contributing to society in a meaningful way anytime soon? Will your dog be paying taxes? Will your dog be in a helping profession like education, social services, law enforcement for the unwanted children brought into this world by straight people? Will your dogs taxes help pay for divorce courts? If so, then yes. Yes you may include your dog as your dependent. (shaking head)
  • newsflash! sarcasm
    Elaine you are SO right. We should stop giving gays rights, they're not real people. I'm still reeling from the US government giving those black people rights. Why can't everyone realize that God creating everyone equal is a dangerous, liberal lie!!
  • Wow.
    Wow, Elaine. I really thought only educated people read the IBJ. Stay classy.
  • Yeah because that makes sense...
    Comparing gay PEOPLE to dogs...boy you're a real winner. Since you're clearly heterosexual, maybe someone should take away your right to file jointly and share benefits with your spouse. Assuming you're married to a man, not a dog. God, the bass ackwards thinking in this state is depressing.
  • What's next?
    If gay couples can get benefits like filing Joint Tax Returns and Social Security benefits, will I be able to file my dog as a dependent soon?
    • Glad
      I'm so glad that the Indiana State Legislature feels that their job is done, all is well with out State and that we are living in Shangri-La. No problems, no worries, no issues, the proverbial "two-chickens in every pot..." Isn't that wonderful? That allows us to be the first bastion of idiocy in the nation to focus all of our energies in ensuring that our state is the stalwart of provincial, bigoted, hateful actions. And, kudos to you Mike Pence, for being the first to come forth on the national level and proclaim that the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES is wrong, wrong, wrong. Ah, yes, you're quite the success story, aren't you...
    • Indiana moves farther and farther back in time.
      Indiana should learn to live and let live-to stop pushing your beliefs on others. If you do not believe in gay marriage, don't do it. But, stop telling other what they can and cannot do. Added note: I want it noted that I did not vote for Pence....never ever in no way.
    • More important things
      Gay marriage is already against the law in Indiana. There are many, many more important things this state needs to focus our time and money on than an amendment to our state constitution.
    • put it up for a vote
      i thank it should be left to the voters to pick were are state is going to go.

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