The House Judiciary Committee has taken the first step toward adding an amendment to the state constitution which would ban gay marriage. The committee voted 8-4 along party lines Monday to approve Marion Representative Eric Turner’s resolution defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Indiana already has a state law which makes the same distinction. But bill co-sponsor Representative Dave Cheatham of Madison says it should also be put into the state constitution.
More than a dozen people testified on the resolution, from both sides of the issue. Indiana Equality President Jessica Wilch says bill proponents are actually targeting many rights of the gay community.
Ball State University assistant professor Cynthia Conley says the bill could have a negative effect on the state economically.
Additionally, Conley pointed out that the inability to marry would not stop homosexual couples from having relationships and forming households. Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund says marriage is directly related to creating households.
The amendment bears the same language as laws already on the books in Kentucky and Wisconsin. It must be approved by two consecutive sessions of the legislature, meaning the earliest it could appear on the ballot is 2014.
Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Stan Jastrzebski reports from the Indiana Statehouse.