Gay marriage amendment remains hot topic in Indiana


Indiana's effort to ban gay marriage could be delayed next year by other priorities, but the debate still rages across the state.

Just Hair in downtown Indianapolis is a great place to get a haircut and talk politics.

"I think the times are changing. The question is, in Indiana, are things changing fast enough?" said City-County Councilor Zach Adamson.

Adamson is talking about the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Indiana. As a member of the City-County Council, he is also the first openly gay county-wide elected official in the state.

"If the only way you can exclude a group of people under the full protection of the constitution is to physically write them out of it. I think that is a pretty good indication that is not the right thing to do," Adamson said.

The amendment would go to a referendum after it passes the legislature a second time. Indiana lawmakers have a little leeway in the question of a constitutional amendment. Both bodies can either act in 2013 or 2014 before it can be presented to the voters if it is passed.

The big question is why is the amendment needed at all, since gay marriage, which was staged during a demonstration at the Indiana Statehouse in 2011, is already banned under Indiana law?

Micah Clark with the American Family Association says it's designed to keep the decision out of the hands of the courts.

"The issue of marriage is too important to decide, like 31 other states have done, whether or not we want to protect our laws, or keep them as is, where a man and a dad matter and marriage involves men and women, or if it's undefined and can involve anything any group wants," Clark said.

"People say there are evolving views on this and that is fine. When the views evolved, where a majority of the voters and their representatives agree, then that is what we will do. I think that is how democracy is supposed to work," said Republican analyst Peter Rusthoven.

It is certainly a talker.

"To me, it's just silly our legislature has to be messing around with something like that when we've got problems horrendously more important," said a client at Just Hair.

"They are going to continue to work this issue so they can feel somewhat better about themselves," Adamson said.

At present, nine states and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriage. 31 states have passed constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage.

Even if lawmakers in Indiana pass the amendment this session, that only gives the voters the final right to decide the issue in 2014.