Gay marriage amendment advances in Indiana Statehouse

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Indianapolis- Republican lawmakers in Indiana are resuming their push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

A GOP-ruled House committee voted 8-4 Monday to advance the proposal, which now moves to the full House.

Opponents say the amendment writes discrimination into the state's constitution even though Indiana law already bans gay marriage. Supporters say the issue is so important that it belongs in the constitution, and say courts could overturn state law.

"The state of Indiana increases the chances that children will be born and raised in stable family unions, by both the mothers and the fathers, who are responsible for bringing them into this world. This is the reason the state of Indiana is in the marriage business," said Austin Nimocks, Alliance Defense Fund.

"Our state is wasting the time and opportunity to address the needs that most concern its citizens," said Dr. Cynthia Conley, Ball State University.

An amendment banning gay marriage passed in 2005 when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, but amendments must go through two separate Legislatures and a public referendum. In 2006, Democrats won control of the House and the proposal hasn't cleared that chamber since.

Republicans now control both chambers, giving the proposal a better shot of passing. If it clears the Legislature this year, it would have to pass again in 2013 or 2014 before getting on the ballot.

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