Hoosiers debate constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

March 17, 2011

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(Getty/File)
A same-sex couple protests in San Francisco after being denied a marriage license in February.

Indiana lawmakers continue to debate a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. State law already prohibits marriage between same sex couples, but some Hoosier lawmakers want to take the ban a step further. They want to amend the state’s constitution so the ban can’t be overturned by what one legislator described as “activist judges.”

The Indiana House approved the amendment last month and it moved on to the Senate. That's where the Senate Judiciary Committee heard arguments on it yesterday at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. There, the committee heard from two prominent companies in Indiana; pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly, and diesel engine manufacturer, Cummins Inc. Company representatives testified that a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage would hurt their firms ability to recruite top notch talent.

The committee delayed a vote on the matter until next week. If it’s approved, it will move on to the full Senate. And if it passes there, the amendment would still need to be approved by the Indiana General Assembly next year.

If the amendment makes it through next year’s legislature, Hoosier voters will have the final say if it becomes part of the Indiana constitution by voting on the measure in a referendum.

The earliest such a ban could be in the constitution would be in 2013.