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Indiana senators approve marriage amendment

Indiana senators approve marriage amendment

The Indiana senate approved a proposed state constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would ban same-sex marriage. Although the amendment will likely face an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled house, the Republican-dominated senate approved the resolution 42-7. Indiana already has a defense of marriage act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A case challenging that law is under review by the Indiana court of appeals. Supporters of the amendment say the general assembly needs to specifically outlaw same-sex marriage in its constitution to prevent courts from labeling current law as unconstitutional. "This is kind of a leg up if the court decides our current law is unconstitutional," said senate pro tem Robert Garton (R-Columbus). Sen. Brandt Hershman, the Wheatfield Republican who is sponsoring the resolution, said the traditional institution of marriage between a man and a woman has come under attack from courts in other states. He said traditional marriages have received preferential treatment from the government because they promote the welfare of children. Opponents of the proposed amendment, however, said a change in the state constitution is not needed. Democratic senator Anita Bowser of Michigan City said states have always recognized laws enacted by other states. She said Indiana should recognize marriage ceremonies in other states even if they are between members of the same sex. She said homosexuality has been around for ages in all cultures and that people should be more tolerant. "It is unnecessary. It is offensive," Bowser said of the proposed amendment. "It is a deplorable act of hostility." Sen. Earline Rogers (D-Gary) said the proposal reminds her of prohibitions against interracial marriage, which were not lifted in Indiana until 1967. She said the state constitution was formed to protect certain rights, not take them away from certain groups of people. Some Democratic leaders in the house have said they would not give the bill a hearing. Gov. Joe Kernan, a Democrat, has said he believes Indiana's laws are clear enough. But Kernan won't have to sign off on the proposal. To amend the constitution, two consecutive general assemblies have to pass the resolution before it would go to Indiana voters for a referendum.

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