Indiana legislators vote for state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in the United States

██ Same-sex marriage1

██ Unions granting rights similar to marriage1,2

██ Legislation granting limited/enumerated rights1

██ Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere recognized1

██ No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions

██ Statute bans same-sex marriage

██ Constitution bans same-sex marriage

██ Constitution bans same-sex marriage and some or all other kinds of same-sex unions


1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2Same-sex marriage laws in California are complicated, please see the Wikipedia article on same-sex marriage in California.

Indiana's Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment Monday that would ban same-sex marriage in the state's constitution. Indiana's state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. A sentence banning civil unions was removed from the proposal.

For a constitutional amendment to be approved in Indiana, it must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate during two separately elected legislatures, which means there has to be an election between the two sets of votes. The proposed amendment cannot be changed from one voting session to another and cannot be changed from the House of Representatives to the Senate. Once the proposed amendment has passed those hurdles, then the amendment goes to Indiana voters who vote yea or nay on the amendment.

Following the House of Representatives' approval, the Senate passed the proposed amendment, which is known as House Joint Resolution 3, with a vote of 32–17 Monday. Opponents needed eight more votes to stop the proposed amendment from reaching the necessary margin of support.

The proposed amendment already passed both houses in 2011. A change was made this legislative session when the second sentence was deleted first by the House of Representatives and then was passed in a similar form by the Senate Monday. The failure of the second sentence, which proposes to ban same-sex civil unions, could possibly open the door for civil unions in the future. Following the process, HJR-3 will be reviewed again by the next elected legislature in either 2015 or 2016 to remain in process.

Although the amended version grants the possibility for civil unions in the future, some in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community say it isn't enough.

"I think it's still bad because it fails to legitimize us as human beings, since it's trying to deny us basic rights,” said Myranda Wanden, program director at Indiana Youth Group, an organization that provides support and advocacy for LBGT teens and young adults.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence supported the proposed amendment. Pence, in his "State of the State" speech for 2014, said, “I believe in traditional marriage, and I have long held the view that the people, rather than unelected judges, should decide matters of such great consequence". Pence also called for a civil debate for the matter and to treat everyone with respect.

“I think the rest of the country is moving towards being more open and accepting about gay marriage," Wanden said. "I think Indiana, which is a conservative red state, saw this and wanted to resist the changing tide. I think it caused fear in many legislators, but I definitely don't think it's reflective of a majority of the Indiana population.”

Indiana is not the only state that prohibits same-sex marriage by law or as proposed by constitution. There are 29 other states that prohibit same-sex civil marriages under their constitutions, while Indiana and three other states prohibit it by statute. The states that allow for some form of same-sex marriage number 17 plus Washington, DC.

Worldwide, there is a wide diversity in same-sex marriage and rights laws. At this time, 17 countries allow same-sex marriage, the most recent being Scotland. Most of the countries that allow same-sex marriage are concentrated in Europe, but there are also countries in South America and Africa, as well as New Zealand, Canada, and parts of Mexico that have legalized same-sex marriage. Homosexual sex is legally criminal in at least 78 countries, and punishable by death in five.


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Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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