The Indiana Senate gallery on Tuesday was closed as the chamber began debate on a resolution that aims to ban gay marriage in the state, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Foes of the proposed measure that seeks to define marriage as a heterosexual union in the Indiana constitution, thereby outlawing gay marriage, civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships, got the attention of Senate President David Long.

“Stop hating, stop dividing, stop pandering,” the protesters yelled from the gallery.

Long ordered the gallery closed. “Jobs not hate,” the roughly 40 protesters yelled as they filed out.

The House overwhelmingly approved the measure with a 70-26 vote late last month. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to approve the resolution later this week.

Voters, however, won't vote on the proposal to amend the state constitution until 2014 at the earliest, after a separately elected General Assembly approves the resolution.

Supporters of the bill claim the amendment is needed because the state's gay marriage ban remains vulnerable to a legal challenge. Indiana courts, however, have already declared the state's 1997 law constitutional.