A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana could face its final legislative hurdle this session. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but legislators overwhelmingly voted last year to put that ban in the constitution.
It has to pass the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014, but this month‘s election brought the first suggestion public opinion on the issue could be shifting.
Minnesota voted this month to reject a constitutional ban, while Maine and Maryland became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by referendum.
Representative Eric Turner (R-Marion), who authored the amendment, says Hoosiers have more in common with the 30 states which have approved constitutional bans.
“All those states would be classified as fairly liberal states, and much different than the 30 states that currently have a constitutional amendment, so we would probably compare ourselves more to those states,” he says.
But Turner says a House leadership meeting next month will discuss when and whether to resubmit the amendment.
Indiana Equality Action executive director Rick Sutton says he has resigned to the amendment passing the legislature, and predicts it will come early in the session. The amendment passed in 2011 by overwhelming margins. But Sutton is gearing up to stop the amendment in the final step of the process, a referendum in 2014.
“We think the voters are way ahead of the General Assembly on this,” he says. “The General Assembly‘s relatively isolated. When you‘re one of 150 people, and a good two-thirds of you have little or no opposition on a regular basis, you can get pretty insulated.”
He contends Hoosiers‘ views of the issue have changed more than legislators realize.