An Indiana House panel on Wednesday
approved a proposed constitutional amendment which would prohibit the
state from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with marriage, civil
unions and possibly domestic partnerships.
After more than 4 hours of debate, the
13-member House Elections and Appointment Committee voted 9-3 with
one absence in favor of advancing the measure to the full House.
The vote came a day after House Speaker
Brian Bosma, a Republican from Indianapolis, pulled the proposed ban
out from the House Judiciary Committee, where support appeared weak
after a hearing last week, to the House Elections and Appointment
Committee, where all 9 Republicans voted for the measure.
Rep. Eric Turner, a Republican from
Cicero, introduced the measure in 2011. It easily cleared the House
and Senate with bipartisan support. However, a second vote is needed
before the amendment can head to voters in November.
Turner called on committee members to
advance the bill.
“We've been debating this since 2004.
It's time to put this debate to rest and let Hoosier voters decide,”
Freedom Indiana, the coalition of
groups working to derail the proposal, put out a statement after the
vote saying members were “disappointed.”
“We're disappointed, but we're more
disappointed in the jury-rigged process than the outcome today. The
traditional legislative path for this divisive amendment was
completely upended when Speaker Bosma decided he had to switch
committees to shore up enough Republican votes to move it to the
Opponents of the measure, who
outnumbered supporters, testified that it was unnecessary since
Indiana law already bans same-sex marriage and that it would hurt the
state's business climate.