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Indiana House OKs amendment banning gay marriage

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The Indiana House approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday to ban gay marriage and civil unions — a step opponents said was unnecessary since same-sex marriage is already illegal in the state.

Supporters say the amendment would provide an additional layer of protection for traditional marriage in case courts later overturn Indiana's law. The Republican-controlled House voted 70-26 to advance the proposal, which must clear two separately-elected Legislatures to get on the ballot for a public vote.

"Marriage is — and should be — the union of one man and one woman," said Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion.

Rep. Ralph Foley, R-Martinsville, said nothing in the resolution keeps gay people from living together or loving each other. But he said that's different relationship than marriage.

Opponents said the proposal would write discrimination into the state's constitution.

Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said the constitution should protect the minority, and that the proposed amendment goes against that philosophy. He said attitudes about marriage change over time and noted that some states once outlawed interracial marriages.

"What side of history will we stand on?" he asked.

Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, D-Indianapolis, prepared her remarks in the form of a Valentine's Day poem since she anticipated a vote on the proposal Monday. Although the vote was delayed a day, she said her comments still applied since they came from her heart.

Her poem said people would be hurt and communities would be less diverse if the constitution was amended to ban gay marriage.

"Please have the courage to keep the document free of your personal judgment of what marriage should be," she said.

A similar amendment banning gay marriage passed the General Assembly in 2005 when Republicans controlled the House and Senate. But in 2006, Democrats won control of the House and the proposal didn't clear the chamber again while they held power so the process had to start over.

Republicans won control of the House last year, giving the proposal new life. Now that the House has approved the measure, it moves to the GOP-ruled Senate, where it is expected to pass. If the Senate passes the proposal this year, the amendment would have to pass both the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014 to be on the ballot in 2014.

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  • Many thanks
    Sarah, I greatly appreciate your comments. After fighting in the trenches on this issue and others, I'm just not ready to do it again and I couldn't stand by and be comfortable. There are so many good and intelligent people like you who can surely make change happen. You have my respect and gratitude.
  • To Roland
    I saw your comment earlier this week and was encouraged. While I understand your decision, please accept my apology on behalf of our backward state. I honestly do not think these idiots represent the thoughts of anyone I know.
    • You Can't Go Home Again
      Well, earlier in the week I had high hopes from reading the e-mail repsonses when this vote was delayed. As I said then, I was hopeful that I and my partner of 40 years could return to Indianapolis and devote our talents and money to the community, after successful careers in a state that recognizes same sex marraiges. I'm selling the property we bought and looking elsewhere in spite of the fact that we will be separated from many friends and family.
    • To Sarah:
      http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=180325215342048
    • what about the real issues?
      who cares if gays get married? it is truly a joke that the republicans make this one of there top priorities - and I am a conservative libertarian. this issue with abortion keep all of us from tackling the real issues! we all bicker amongst ourselves while our "leaders" steal our future and our children's future. I say let them get married and God will be the judge if it is wrong or right! what a waste of time!!
    • Demonstrate
      Maybe a Hoosier protest on the Circle is in order?
      • How does this 'protect' marriage?
        I agree with all of the previous comments about the shame and idiocy of legislators pushing a bill that is not only regressive - but totally against the wishes of the citizens. With Indiana's history of anti-miscegenation, I suppose this shouldn't surprise - yet it does. Can we recall this congress?
      • What to do
        This bill is exactly why I have a difficult time voting for republicans. I prefer a liberal economy which obviously means I should be voting for the republicans but I can't bring myslef to do it because of issues like these. This is shameful and embarassing to the state. Our lawmakers should be reforming our tax code to entice business to relocate here and not trying to drive them away.
      • Amen!
        Let's set aside the moral issues, because we simply won't agree. The constitution is a document written by the people instructing the government how it must behave. It is our primary tool to prevent unwelcome and unlawful government intrusion. We are the authors of this document - let's use it to ensure our freedom, not restrict it.

        THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS AND DESERVES LESS POWER TO RESTRICT FREEDOM, NOT MORE.
      • What support?
        Where is the support for this bill coming from? I have been on many blogs and comment posts and seen strong negative reactions to these stories. How can this be pushed forward? At what point does government end if they can choose their own moral values, then instil those on others? From now on we may have to use forks to eat cereal because that's the way republican politicians want it!
      • Embarrassing
        I am now embarrassed to call Indiana my native state. I have spent the last 4 years outside of the state and have said nothing but great things about Indiana. Now, I will hesitate to tell people where I am because of the disgusting amount of hate our state is exemplifying. Truly shameful.
      • This is NOT a constitutional issue
        EDIT: Left the word banning out of the last post.

        "Even if you can't get them to agree in principle that **banning** gay marriage is bigotry, try to get them to agree that this does not belong in the Indiana Constitution."
      • This is NOT a constitutional issue
        First and foremost, THIS IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE! The constitution is a framework for our government, not a place for homophobes to codify their misconceptions. So when you are talking to someone who is on the fence about this issue remind them of what a constitution is for. Even if you can't get them to agree in principle that gay marriage is bigotry, try to get them to agree that this does not belong in the Indiana Constitution and has nothing to do with how our government is run. Keep your hands off my constitution!

        On that note my personal feeling is:

        If you don't like gay marriage then don't have one.

        If the sanctity of your own marriage depends on what other people do, then you obviously don't know what marriage means in the first place.
        • A sad day
          This is a sad day for freedom and tolerance in Indiana. Our economy will continue to decline for years as the younger generation rejects Indiana for what it is (or at least it's leadership seems to be): a place where being different means being unwelcome. You can count on this young conservative voting for Democrats in 2012 so this amendment dies before it becomes a further blight on this state. At least then it will have only damaged our standing for 2 year instead of decades.

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