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Senator considers way to restore marriage amendment's 2nd sentence

One conservative senator said Monday morning he might try a last-ditch maneuver to restore a controversial second sentence to the constitutional gay marriage ban.

House Joint Resolution 3 is set for a final Senate vote this afternoon.

But Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, said he could offer a motion to return it to second reading where amendments could be made.

But he would not be definitive and conceded he doesn’t have the 26 votes necessary to change the wording.

House Joint Resolution 3 defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Indiana law already mirrors this language, but some felt constitutional protection was needed in addition.

The House earlier this session removed the second sentence banning anything “substantially similar” to marriage, including civil unions.

If the language is reinserted, Hoosiers could vote on the measure in November.

But if the amendment passes the Senate today in its current form, the debate shifts to next year, with a possible public vote no earlier than 2016.

“If we can’t get the marriage amendment to the public now, I’m not convinced we ever will,” Delph said.

If the second sentence isn’t added back in, Delph has promised to vote against the resolution with the backing of the Indiana Family Institute and American Family Association.

He also partially blamed Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, for controlling the process in such a way that the second sentence wasn’t added back in.

“This clearly shows he was not in support of moving this to the voters for the final validation in November of 2014,” he said.

But Delph said it is “not in the cards for right now” to challenge Long for his leadership post.

Delph made news statewide last week by going on a daylong Twitter tirade with supporters and opponents of the gay-marriage ban.

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