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Questions about Indiana marriage ban dog Zoeller


INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Greg Zoeller says he’s been fielding numerous questions from lawmakers about Indiana’s current gay marriage ban and a proposal to add it to the state constitution.

Zoeller said Friday he could not divulge details of those conversations because of attorney-client privilege, but said he’s been hearing extensively from both sides.

Zoeller represents state lawmakers and other state officials in court and often provides legal advice.

The General Assembly will take up a proposal next month to add Indiana’s ban on gay marriage to the state constitution. If the measure passes the legislature, it would head to voters in November.

Judges recently overturned gay marriage bans in New Mexico, Ohio and Utah. Supporters of the Indiana constitutional amendment say it’s needed to block similar action here.

House Joint Resolution 6 proposes language to amend the state constitution that says: “Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

Lawmakers passed the language in 2011, but it takes another vote by the Indiana General Assembly to send it to Hoosiers for approval or defeat on the November 2014 ballot.

The Indiana Court of Appeals in 2005 rejected a challenge by three gay couples to the current state law, which prohibits recognition of legal same-sex marriages from other states. The appeals court upheld a lower court decision to dismiss the couples’ lawsuit on grounds that state law clearly defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Background information added from The Journal Gazette archives.