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Same-Sex Marriage Ban Proposal Clears House Panel

Last updated on Thursday, January 23, 2014

(STATEHOUSE) - The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is headed for the House floor.

The House Elections Committee approved the amendment on a party-line 9-3 vote, one day after likely Republican defections in another committee prompted Speaker Brian Bosma to reassign it.

Vincennes Democrat Kreg Battles voted yes three years ago, but flipped to no this time. He says no witness could explain what the amendment would accomplish that existing law doesn't. Battles says he fears an ugly campaign as the amendment heads for a final up-or-down referendum in November, followed by an expensive lawsuit. He argues passing the amendment makes a legal challenge more likely.

Supporters argue Indiana's law is at risk of a challenge in state court if it's not reinforced in the constitution.

The amendment's next hurdle is a possible attempt next week to strip its second sentence, intended to ban civil unions.

Fort Wayne Republican Casey Cox voted for the ban in committee, but says he'd like to see that clause removed, and says he doesn't know how he'll vote on final passage if it isn't.

Opponents warn that sentence could have unintended consequences, from gutting domestic-violence laws to invalidating Indiana University's benefit packages for domestic partners.

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