Lawmakers weigh in on move of proposed same-sex marriage ban


It may have been a technicality, but it was a big one.

The House put its seal of approval on the decision to move the proposed constitutional gay marriage ban into a friendlier committee. Democrats hoped the maneuver would be rejected during a vote to approve the committee's action this morning, but Republicans held their ground, endorsing it by a 67-30 vote.

The debate may have started at the Indiana Statehouse, but now it's spilled over the radio airwaves, into the streets.

"I think your goal is that one day a gay or lesbian judge is in office and leans in your favor and they somehow change the law. I don't actually agree with the amendment. Like the lady in the studio said, it's already in the law. I don't think any law should be based on sexual orientation," various callers said on WTLC radio Thursday afternoon.

Democrats are still hurting over Speaker Brian Bosma's decision to pull the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage out of one committee and sticking it into another, where it passed by a friendly 9-3 vote Wednesday night.

"He didn't have the votes," said Rep. Pat Bauer (D-South Bend), explaining Bosma's move.

Bauer wasn't the only one taking issue with the maneuver.

"Otherwise we have a situation where if your bill gets stuck in a sand trap, you automatically get a mulligan with a whole bunch of do overs," said Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington).

There is also a question whether the amendment would pass a constitutional challenge. Jackie Simmons, General Counsel from Indiana University pointed that out during floor debate Wednesday night.

"Twenty-one states with constitutional amendments are facing litigation right now," Simmons said.

The floor debate was passionate and lengthy. Opponents gave silent applause when they heard a point they favored. Twelve hours later, Governor Mike Pence was hearing loud applause as he addressed the Indiana Family Institute which supports the amendment.

"Everyone has their own opinion on this issue, but I believe in traditional marriage and I believe the people not unelected judges should make decisions of such consequence," Pence said.

He reiterated that he wants to have the issue decided by the end of the year. Floor debate on the bill is expected next week.