(STATEHOUSE) - The House has deleted the controversial second sentence of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
The second line of the amendment is intended to ban civil unions, but opponents have raised the specter of domestic-abuse laws or domestic-partner health benefits being invalidated.
Supporters introduced a companion bill intended to clarify those issues, but Hartford City Republican Kevin Mahan says it just confuses things further, and says it would be a mistake to rush flawed language through just to get the issue resolved this year.
The amendment's author, Cicero Republican Eric Turner, contends the second sentence is not only the right step as a matter of policy, but critical to ensuring the amendment withstands a court challenge.
23 Republicans joined all Democrats present in stripping the clause on a 52-43 vote.
The House could take a final vote on the slimmed-down amendment as early as Tuesday. If it passes, the Senate could still try to restore the language and force a vote in the House on the original version.
If the revised version passes both chambers, legislators would have to approve it again in 2015 or 2016, with voters waiting until November 2016 to give a final verdict.
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