Indiana Senate approves marriage amendment

The Indiana Senate has approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions.

The 40-10 vote on Tuesday happened below an empty public gallery, which was closed after protesters disrupted the Senate's debate of the resolution Monday.

The amendment states that "Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) 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."

Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson argued that attitudes toward same-sex marriages are rapidly changing and the amendment would make it difficult for future changes in state law.

Current state law prohibits gay marriages. Amendment sponsor Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn says the measure would provide maximum protection for the basic family unit of society.

The Republican-led House approved the amendment last month. The measure must pass both the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014 to go before voters on the 2014 ballot.

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