A narrow miss on marriage amendment, 163 years ago

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The debate raging in the Indiana Legislature over banning gay marriage has become the central political issue of 2014. But it's not the first time the state has weighed defining marriage in the state constitution.

During the constitutional convention of 1851, delegates narrowly rejected a proposal that would have barred state lawmakers from passing any measure "impairing the unity and sacredness of the marriage relation."

Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder stumbled across the 163-year-old proposal last month. The conservative Mennonite says that if lawmakers then had problems adding a definition of marriage to the state constitution, modern lawmakers should be equally concerned.

The Indiana Senate is set to take up the proposed ban in the coming weeks, potentially sending it to the ballot in November.

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