(STATEHOUSE) - The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is on its way to the Senate, with a critical vote likely to come Thursday.
As expected, the Senate Rules Committee approved the amendment 8-4 along party lines.
Chairman and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) had made clear the committee wouldn't consider whether to reinsert the deleted sentence banning civil unions as well.
But the full Senate is another story. Long says any relevant change to the measure will be fair game on Thursday. He predicts some "deep discussions" in the Republican caucus before then.
It's all but certain there will be an attempt to restore the controversial second sentence, which opponents argue would call into question a host of benefits and rights now afforded under the law to unmarried couples of any gender.
It's less clear whether the amendment can pass the House if the civil-union language is restored. Long says that won't be a consideration in the Senate.
If the Senate approves the revised amendment, the debate would resume in 2015 or 2016 with a newly-elected legislature.
A final Senate vote is expected Monday.
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