A constitutional amendment that would
ban gay marriage has won the endorsement of a key Senate committee in
Indiana law already prohibits gay
marriage, but opponents worry gay activists could challenge the law
in the courts.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in
favor of sending Republican Senator Carlin Yoder's amendment to the
full Senate in a 6 to 4 vote. Democrats mostly voted against the
“The Marriage Discrimination
Amendment violates every Hoosier's basic right to fairness and
equality,” Randy Studt, president of the gay rights group Indiana
Equality, said in a statement. “It's just an attempt to
distract Hoosiers from the greater issues facing Indiana, threatening
our state's current and future economic development.”
The measure seeks to ban civil unions
for gay couples as well as marriage. Both chambers of the Assembly
need to approve the resolution twice before voters can weigh in on
James Bopp, a prominent anti-gay lawyer
and Terre Haute resident, helped draft the amendment. Bopp is
involved in several high-profile cases involving gay rights,
including a California lawsuit aimed at shielding the identities of
donors to anti-gay campaigns.
Lawmakers in nearby Ohio and Michigan
have proposed legislation that would repeal their gay marriage bans.