INDIANAPOLIS — Republican Gov. Mike Pence says the debate over whether to amend Indiana’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage should be decided “once and for all” this year.
Pence reiterated his support for traditional marriage during his State of the State address Tuesday and said voters should decide the matter in November.
He urged “civility and respect” during the debate that already has brought hundreds of activists to the Statehouse.
“Let’s have a debate worthy of our people with civility and respect. Let’s protect the rights of Hoosier employers to hire who they want and provide them with benefits that they earn. And then let’s resolve this issue this year once and for all,” he said, to applause from the assembled lawmakers, a majority of whom are Republicans.
Article continues belowPence spoke before a joint session of House and Senate members held in the House chamber. Just one day earlier in the same space, a key House panel delayed a vote on the marriage amendment following hours of emotional testimony on the issue.
Lawmakers first approved the proposed constitutional ban in 2011. It must pass again this year to be put to voters in November. If lawmakers don’t act, the process of amending the constitution would start from scratch.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said Pence had a chance to “douse the flames” on the gay marriage debate, but did not.
Opponents of the ban say state law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman and that a constitutional ban will paint Indiana as unfriendly.
Supporters want the constitution amended to make it harder for future legislatures to reverse the law.
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