Indiana News

Foes of Gay Marriage Amendment Seek to Block Passage

Senate could vote on ban Thursday


Supporters of gay rights are moving to head off the latest attempt to put a gay-marriage ban in the Indiana Constitution.

The Senate could vote as early as Thursday on a constitutional amendment. Opponents of the proposal concede it's almost certain to pass, and likely to die in the House.

Attorney Don Sherfick with Indiana Equality Action says the group is taking no chances. He says the IEA is lobbying for neither gay marriage nor civil unions at the moment, but argues a constitutional amendment would short-circuit public dialogue.

The National Association of Social Workers is joining in opposing the ban. Indianapolis social worker Josephine Hughes says the group considers it discriminatory.

The House has not granted a hearing to a gay-marriage amendment since 2007, when a committee deadlocked on sending it to the full House. Some opponents of the amendment argue supporters are trying to build political pressure now in hopes of gaining momentum to pass the amendment in 2011, especially if Republicans regain a majority in the House.

Constitutional amendments must pass two consecutive and separately elected General Assemblies, then go to the voters for final approval. If the House and Senate were to approve the amendment this year, the earliest it could reach the voters is 2012. Waiting till next year to start the process would push back the end date to 2014.

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