News (USA)

Ind. House speaker expects lawmakers to act on gay marriage ban in 2014 session

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma says he expects lawmakers to reach a conclusion this year on amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, but hasn’t decided on timetable for tackling the issue in the 2014 session.

Indiana State House in Indianapolis.
Indiana State House in Indianapolis.

Bosma, a Republican, did not include the ban on a list of formal House GOP priorities presented at the Indiana Chamber of commerce’s annual legislative preview Monday. But the issue is still likely to dominate much of the 2014 session.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long says he needs to consult with other Senate Republicans before making a decision about the ban.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath and Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane both suggested that the majority Republicans take the issue off the table for 2014.

The state already bans gay marriage by law, but lawmakers began the lengthy process of placing the ban in the constitution in 2011.

If lawmakers sign off a second time on the strengthened ban, it would be placed on the ballot for voters to consider next November.

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The ban won overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in 2011, but national attitudes on the issue have changed in the last few years, and Indiana leaders seem to have noticed.

Fourteen states and Washington, D.C., currently allow same-sex marriage. Hawaii will become the 15th state on Dec. 2, and Illinois will become the 16th in June 2014, pending the governor’s planned signature on Wednesday.

Freedom Indiana, which launched over the summer to oppose the amendment, has the support of Indiana corporate giants Eli Lilly and Cummins, along with universities and other high-profile organizations.

Their central argument has been that the ban would keep talented job-seekers and businesses from moving to Indiana.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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