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Supporters, opponents of same-sex marriage square off in Indiana

Monday, January 13, 2014

Updated: 1:30 p.m. EST

INDIANAPOLIS — Supporters of amending the Indiana Constitution to ban gay marriage called the move a necessary protection against judicial activism, while opponents argued before a House panel Monday that the ban would hurt business efforts to recruit and attract talent.

Indiana state capitol in Indianapolis.

Indiana state capitol in Indianapolis.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, called the amendment necessary to prevent court decisions that have overturned marriage bans in other states. Turner introduced the proposed amendment last week, along with a companion measure designed to assuage concerns the amendment could limit employer benefits for same-sex couples.

But members of Freedom Indiana, a coalition opposing the amendment, said the ban would harm the ability of employers to attract top talent to Indiana. Executives for Columbus engine-maker Cummins and pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly told stories of their problems in recruiting talent from around the world.

The proposed amendment would place the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in the constitution, along with a ban on civil unions or other legal recognition “similar” to marriage.

Activists tailored their testimony to a small audience, the 13 members of the House Judiciary Committee, which will vote on the measure later Monday afternoon.

Jeremy Wentzel, student body president at Wabash College, talked of his dedication to conservative principles of limited government and low taxation, while also being gay. Wentzel, a Brown County native, said lawmakers’ consideration of the amendment is making it harder for him to stay in Indiana once he graduates.

“I can be a young gay conservative anywhere,” Wentzel said. “But when it comes to being a young gay conservative and raising a family, that just means I can’t be a Hoosier now.”

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A few hundred opponents packed the House chamber and halls outside the House Monday as the committee heard hours of testimony. Opponents, who wore red to signal their opposition, cheered as oppon ents testified Monday. The packed hallways recalled the protests of union members during the 2011 and 2012 sessions, but marriage protesters were much quieter.

If the measure passes the House Judiciary Committee it would head to the 100-member House for consideration next.

Altering the state constitution requires votes in two consecutive two-year sessions of the General Assembly and the support of voters. A bipartisan group of representatives and senators overwhelmingly supported the measure in 2011, but the issue has drawn much more attention this year and stronger opposition.

Developing story, check back for updates.

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24 more reader comments:

  1. Disgusting!! If they pass this, looks like another state I would have to axe from my visiting list when I come to the states!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:54pm
  2. Let’s go, Indiana! Keep up that losing battle!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:56pm
  3. We aren’t hurting you, you bigoted asshole

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:56pm
  4. STORM the Capital…..let every voice be heard!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:56pm
  5. I’m there. So far there’s been very little from those for the amendment. :)

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:56pm
  6. Also Freedom Indiana is live tweeting it.

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:57pm
  7. Give ‘em hell!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:58pm
  8. Thanks for update, Megan!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:59pm
  9. I live in Indiana and been with my wife for almost 9 years. Indiana will be the last state to do anything. They all live in the dark ages and are narrow minded. Its just life in Indiana for you! It sucks…

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:00pm
  10. I am currently in Mississippi (work related) and I think this crap hole state takes the cake on being last at anything involving equality. I am ashamed of Indiana!! What a waste of resources this entire battle is. Equality will win, the bigots just don't want to acknowledge it.

    Replied on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:31pm
  11. we lived in Indiana …we are now in California….wake up people…this is going to happen everywhere

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:00pm
  12. i hope it doesn’t pass !!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:00pm
  13. This is more of the same religious hatred. When will we learn? I know, when another powerful religious group takes on these Christian bigots and send them packing.

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:01pm
  14. I believe that being gay is not a crime. so why are they trying to stop gay people’s happinness?????

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:01pm
  15. Give ‘em hell!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:03pm
  16. IF they pass this, ANYTHING that has to do with this state will be ignored by me & my familyl

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:04pm
  17. go us

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:07pm
  18. I have said this elsewhere and will say it here…Indiana Constitution – Section 23. Equal privileges and immunities

    Section 23. The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens. So tell me, how is what they are trying to do NOT against the In Constitution…

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:08pm
  19. Basically, they've taken Anatole France at face value. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." They figure, "Straight people can't marry people of the same sex either, so no one is being treated unfairly."

    Replied on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:00pm
  20. Protest!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:25pm
  21. It will be found unconstitutional …it is the right’s last gasp at trying to have their own way.

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 4:58pm
  22. No pass!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 5:02pm
  23. Indiana is only wasting good money by fighting equality. They’ll just end up losing a lawsuit and be forced to join the 21st Century, whether they like it or not.

    Find out which politicians support this garbage and vote them out!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 5:17pm
  24. Hopefully Indiana will not wall itself off from the 21st Century! But, there are a lot of knuckle draggers who would love to drag the state back to the Dark Ages!

    Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:17pm