Indiana State Senate Passes Gay Marriage Ban; Amendment to Go on 2016 Ballot

The upper house of the Indiana Legislature passed on Monday a measure to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. The proposal, however, won't go before voters until at least 2016.

In a vote of 32 to 17, the Indiana Senate passed House Joint Resolution 3 after a three-hour session.

HJR 3 was originally stated 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." However, it was amended to exempt civil unions and with the change in its text became ineligible for the upcoming November ballot.

Authored by Republican Representative Eric Turner, HJR 3 passed the Indiana House of Representatives last month in a vote of 57 to 40.

Last week, HJR 3 was sent to the Senate Rules Committee, who voted in favor of the measure with a vote of 8 ayes to 4 nays.

For Monday, the final Senate vote had a strong party line component to the results. Only one of the 13 Senate Democrats voted in favor of HJR 3 and only five out of the 37 Republicans voted against it.

Megan Robertson, campaign manager with the pro-gay marriage group Freedom Indiana wrote Monday that she saw the measure as a success given that it will not be on this year's ballot.

"While we wish the Senate had voted down this harmful amendment altogether there are two things we can celebrate about this outcome," wrote Robertson.

"The version of HJR-3 the Senate just passed doesn't contain the especially harmful second sentence, and HJR-3 won't be on the ballot this November."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement released Monday that he was "pleased" with the Indiana Legislature's passage of HJR 3.

"Their action, which enjoys strong popular support throughout the state, proves that Indiana still believes marriage is solely between a man and a woman," said Brown.

"At the same time we are very disappointed that both the House and Senate amended the resolution as passed by the legislature in 2011 and removed the second sentence. This was a clear betrayal of the people of Indiana, 80% of who believe this issue should be on the ballot this year."

The state of Indiana presently does not legally recognize same-sex marriages.

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