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Indiana gay marriage ban bill up for initial vote

INDIANAPOLIS – The controversial constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions was filed today and will be heard soon by the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, authored House Joint Resolution 3 as well as the companion House Bill 1153 that attempts to clarify the intent of the legislature on the gay marriage ban.

The bill, for instance, says the legislature doesn't intend to affect the right of private employers to provide domestic partnership benefits.

This is one of many concerns tied to the second sentence of the proposed constitutional amendment. The first sentence says "only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana."

But the second line goes further, saying "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."

There are 13 members on the judiciary committee that will have an initial vote on the ban.

Of those members, seven supported the measure when it passed initially in 2011. Three others voted no and three members are new.

Locally, Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, voted yes previously but has said he wants to hear testimony this year before making a decision.

Also, Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, is new and previously would not commit either way on the measure.

To read the companion bill, click here.

nkelly@jg.net

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