Same-sex marriage is already illegal in the state of Indiana, but marriage equality opponents say it needs to be in the constitution.
The state Senate has passed the constitutional ban in recent years, but it has always died in the House, which Democrats controlled up to this year.
The Republican-controlled committee approved the bill 8-4, sending it to the House floor for amendments and consideration.
Even if the measure passes this year, however, it would still have to be approved by another, separately elected legislature and then in a referendum by voters, before being placed into the state’s founding document.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Eric Turner (R-Marion, Ind.) said it’s a matter of protecting the existing law from being declared “unconstitutional” in court.
“It’s state sanctioned discrimination. Two straight people can go to Vegas, be intoxicated and be married by an Elvis impersonator and what we’re saying in Indiana is that two people in a committed relationship that care for each other can’t achieve that status. I really have a hard time understanding that,” said Unitarian Minister Andy Burnette.