Indiana’s marriage equality ban set to be heard week of February 10

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Indiana’s marriage equality ban legislation is set to be heard by the Senate Rules Committee the week of February 10, according to Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long’s announcement on Thursday, January 30.

The decision was contrary to Long’s previous position, in which he argued that the bill should be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee; according to the Journal Gazette, he stated that he considered the Rules Committee to be a better representation of chamber leadership and therefore the best choice for the legislation.

The House of Representatives passed the proposal with a 57-40 vote on Tuesday, January 28; the bill would add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution. Language also banning civil unions was present in the original, but later removed.

Long stated that he would prefer the rest of the bill’s language remain unchanged. When asked his opinion on the removal, he declined to answer, saying only, “I’m going to keep my powder dry on that right now.”

Some of the legislation’s supporters want the clause also banning civil unions restored in part because approval of the amendment would mean an additional legislature vote, meaning it would not reach the citizen ballot until 2016. Still, Long declared, “It’s a matter of when, not if.”

Freedom Indiana’s campaign manager, Megan Robertson, disagreed with the idea that the constitutional amendment’s passage is inevitable; she pointed out to the Journal Gazette that the number of supporters for the ban has gone from seventy in 2011 to just fifty-seven in 2014. She said, “After this session there’s not much appetite to do this.”

Additionally, even if the ban does pass, it seems likely to be a temporary victory at best for its supporters; for example, Maryland added a line reading, “Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State” to its Family Law Code in 1973, making it the first state in the union to do so—and yet in 2012, after multiple legal battles, marriage equality was affirmed not by the courts, but by popular vote.

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