Supporters, Foes of Gay-Marriage Ban Prepare for Final Statehouse Battle
Referenda in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland add intrigue to prospects
A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana could face its final legislative hurdle this session.
Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but legislators overwhelmingly voted last year to put that ban in the constitution. It has to pass the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014 -- but this month's election brought the first suggestion public opinion on the issue could be shifting.
Constitutional amendments had passed in all 30 states which presented them to the voters, with only Arizona requiring two tries. But Minnesota voted this month to reject a constitutional ban, while Maine and Maryland became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by referendum.
A Howey-DePauw poll in October found a 48-45 plurality of Hoosiers favoring a ban.
Representative Eric Turner (R-Marion), who authored the amendment, notes those states all have a liberal bent, and says Hoosiers have more in common with the states which have approved the amendment. But Turner says he hasn't decided when or whether to resubmit the amendment. He says he'll discuss it with Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) at a House leadership meeting next month.
Indiana Equality Action executive director Rick Sutton predicts it'll be among the first proposals to hit the floor, in a bid to get it over and done with. He's resigned to the amendment passing the legislature -- the amendment passed in 2011 by overwhelming margins of 70-26 in the House and 40-10 in the Senate. Enough of those yes votes are still in the legislature to pass the amendment, even if no other lawmakers join them.
But Sutton is gearing up to stop the amendment in the final step of the process, a referendum in 2014. He contends Hoosiers' views of the issue have changed more than legislators realize.
Constitutional amendments are not subject to a signature or veto from the governor.