Same-sex marriage ban on agenda as Indiana lawmakers back in session

Indiana State House in Indianapolis. Staff Reports

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers began their 2014 legislative session Tuesday with a packed schedule that includes considering placing the state’s gay marriage ban in the constitution.

Indiana State House in Indianapolis.

Indiana State House in Indianapolis.

Supporters of the ban are seeking to amend the constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, civil unions and benefits for same-sex couples.

But at least three lawmakers who voted for the proposal three years ago have since reversed their positions, reports the Courier-Journal, and several other lawmakers are re-considering their support.

Opponents of the amendment have run a highly visible and coordinated campaign so far, but it remains unclear whether they will succeed in winning enough lawmakers to their side.

In order to be placed in the constitution, the measure must win approval in two consecutive two-year sessions of the General Assembly and then win approval from Indiana voters.

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Lawmakers from both parties overwhelmingly supported the amendment on its first vote in 2011, but a shifting national tide and well-funded effort by amendment opponents has raised new questions about whether the measure would clear the Legislature a second time.

Since the 2011, voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington have approved same-sex marriage, as have lawmakers in Illinois and Hawaii.

Court rulings in New Mexico and Utah have escalated the issue of marriage equality back into state and federal courts, and more than a dozen states are facing challenges to their existing bans.

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