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Indiana

Ind. House panel advances proposed same-sex marriage ban

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Updated: 8:45 p.m. EST

INDIANAPOLIS — A panel of Indiana lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage Wednesday night, setting up a battle in the full House of Representatives.

The House Elections and Apportionment Committee voted 9-3 in favor of the ban, after more than four hours of sometimes emotional testimony inside the House chamber.

Indiana State House in Indianapolis.

Indiana State House in Indianapolis.

The vote followed a week of internal debate among House Republicans and a power play by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, that lined up the affirmative vote Wednesday.

Bosma, R-Indianapolis, surprised many Tuesday by moving the proposed ban from the House Judiciary Committee to the House Elections and Apportionment Committee. The measure stalled last week when supporters could not find the votes needed to push the ban through the Judiciary Committee, spurring Bosma to seek other ways to advance the measure to the full House.

The ban won the support of all the committee’s Republicans, but at leas t one cautioned that his support could hinge on changes to the measure.

“I was willing to bring it to the floor, and when it comes to the floor we’ll take a look at it then,” said Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne. Cox said he would like to remove a sentence from the ban that likely bans civil unions and could ban employer benefits for same-sex couples.

Three Democrats on the committee amounted to the only “no” votes Wednesday, and one conservative Democrat was excused because of a medical emergency.

It’s a far cry from 2011, when bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate signed off on the amendment. The ban must pass the Legislature a second time then go before voters in order to be placed in the constitution. But a shift in public attitudes and a strong organizing effort from opponents in the state’s business and higher education communities have caused many lawmakers to reconsider their support for the amendment.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, went bef ore the new House panel Wednesday with the same arguments he delivered last week. Indiana, he said, needs to join other states that have enshrined the definition of marriage in their state constitutions.

“We’ve been debating this since 2004. It’s time to put this debate to rest and let Hoosier voters decide,” he said.

Opponents of the ban, led by the group Freedom Indiana, again outnumbered supporters at the second hearing. Activists wore red clothes and waved their hands in the air silently instead of clapping during testimony.

The hearings have been largely tepid events, with few outbursts, unlike the rowdy education and labor fights held in 2011 and 2012. House Elections Chairman Milo Smith, R-Columbus, asked activists to remain quiet and respectful through the hearing.

But testimony from a lawyer with the conservative Family Research Council arguing that gay marriage court rulings could pave the way for legalization of polygamy drew laughter throu ghout the crowd. Smith asked the crowd to pipe down, and when one activist gave Smith a thumbs down, Smith had him removed from the chamber.

Opponents of the amendment relied on business leaders again Wednesday to lay out their argument. Executives for engine-maker Cummins and pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly have said such an amendment could make it difficult to recruit talent from around the world.

Marya Rose, general counsel with Columbus-based Cummins, on Wednesday sought to discredit testimony from supporters who were flown in from out of state.

“For some reason I feel compelled to let you know I am a lifelong Hoosier,” she said, to laughs from opponents of the measure.

Democrats on the House elections committee complained of the short notice they received from Bosma that the measure would be taken up Wednesday afternoon. The panel planned to vote on the ban after Wednesday’s hearing.

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52 more reader comments:

  1. just let everyone be happy and let them marry whoever they want to!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:44am
  2. I am watching it LIVE.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:45am
  3. What channel is it?!

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:48am
  4. http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/webcast/session2013.html

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:48am
  5. Watching live too on in.gov

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:47am
  6. The SUPREME Court has said more than once that marriage is a civil right of man, therefore I submit you cannot vote on someone’s civil rights. Its pretty simple.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:47am
  7. Also, there's that whole "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" clause in the Constitution. Kind of a big deal, there.

    Replied on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:59am
  8. Just another reason to hate Indiana

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:47am
  9. We in Ohio already have that ban, but fighting to overturn it on civil rights violations

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:49am
  10. Why should tax paying, voting citizens have to fight for the rights the rest of us were born with? Isn’t that why they are called RIGHTS?

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:49am
  11. Amen Cheryl Ann Tomlin

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:51am
  12. And people wonder why I say I never want to move back.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:51am
  13. i bet they will have people challenging it in the courts soon enough

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:53am
  14. Uuugghhhh

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:54am
  15. Don’t worry it will only cost the state 10′s of millions in lawsuits and our states dignity.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:04am
  16. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:04am
  17. Idea? Can some g/l couples go to a state which has marriage equality, get married and come back and sue Indiana to recognize those marriages? The Justice Dept is recognizing Utah’s marriages as legal in the eyes of the federal gov’t.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:06am
  18. Epic failure…so disappointed. Gear up people….you’re going to need to fight. Let’s hope and prayer you do better than MI did a few years back….So very sad.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:11am
  19. No real surprise there…smh

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:12am
  20. Right on point John Micah Pickering

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:13am
  21. Go ahead ….The courts will then reverse it and all of it will be a waste of time!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:13am
  22. Fucking republicans

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:16am
  23. What a shame!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:34am
  24. Shoot it down and bitch slap that entire corrupt committee.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:35am
  25. Shoot it down and bitch slap that entire committee.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:35am
  26. While the courts may reverse this, we will always have to fight for LGBT equality forever. Do you think Christians let court decisions get in their way? They haven’t with a women’s right to choose on this 41 year anniversary of roe v wade. So with LGBT equality, they will do the same.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:43am
  27. I think it is time for me to get out of this worthless state…Fuck you Indiana.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:43am
  28. Kiss my proud happy rainbow butt. No government or lawmakers will ever put laws or bans on my life because it’s MY LIFE not theirs. Don’t let laws or bans take over, be who you want to be and love who you want to love. LOVE IS LOVE <3

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:48am
  29. Disgusting. Do it and the courts will, at some time, reverse it. Outrageous to be taking the tax payers money and wasting it.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:49am
  30. Who are they to decide who we can marry? Tell me that? this is injustice at it’s worst.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 1:52am
  31. Another place to avoid

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:13am
  32. Of course they advanced the proposal out of committee. That is what all this hocus pocus with the committee has been about.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:21am
  33. BULLSHIT

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:22am
  34. Love is love. Legalize now!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:36am
  35. yea, only after they moved it from a less friendly committee that would never have passed it to one more friendly toward the anti-equality cause. fucking opportunists.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:39am
  36. the WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY again Indiana :-(

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:41am
  37. Disgrace.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2:52am
  38. like mạnh. Kết bạn với mình nha Kelly Collier

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:26am
  39. Not surprised in the least….

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:28am
  40. Someone’s going to look stupid in a few years

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:30am
  41. I love how they feel they can dictate who people want to marry, but divorce is easy as shit to obtain.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:36am
  42. Its a waste of time and won’t last

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:48am
  43. Fuck them!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 4:34am
  44. FUCK INDIANA WHO THE FUCK WANTS TO LIVE THERE ANYWAYS. WORTHLESS. JUST LIKE ARIZONA

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 4:52am
  45. Pack of stupid

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 5:02am
  46. This is tragic.

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 5:39am
  47. The conservative party has no credibility until they stop oppressing minorities!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6:03am
  48. This is exactly why my betterhalf and I are moving next spring

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6:10am
  49. Even if it passes it will be struck down as unconstitutional

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6:34am
  50. The state rep who headed this up has an openly gay son. Please support family values and let him know he is a bad father today. His number is (800) 382-9841 or (812) 372-2121. His name is Milo Smith everyone!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:50am
  51. The state rep who headed this up has an openly gay son. Please support family values and let him know he is a bad father today. His number is (800) 382-9841 or (812) 372-2121. His name is Milo Smith everyone!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:50am
  52. Can’t say I’m terribly surprised, coming from the Alabama of the mid-west. We’ve won a lot of victories in the past year though, and the momentum is still with us. There are bound to be pockets of resistance from the narrow-minded bigoted minority. It will just make the victory all that much sweeter when the ban is forcefully overturned from above!

    Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:03pm