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Indiana senate panel advances constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

Indiana senate panel advances constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

An Indiana state senate committee advanced a resolution Tuesday that would begin the process of amending Indiana's constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Opponents of the amendment said the proposal would do more than just ban same-sex marriage in that it could prohibit future lawmakers from creating legal benefits for gays and lesbians. The sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield), said some rights could be granted to gays by future legislatures. However, he said, the amendment would prohibit granting a whole group legal privileges similar to those of marriage--such as those included in the civil unions granted by other states. Sen. Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City) questioned the need for the amendment, saying that courts have already upheld a state law banning same-sex marriages and thus there was no need for such a change to the state's constitution. "We are demeaning it. We are defiling it. We are abusing it," Bowser said. After more than two hours of debate in the senate's civil matters committee, lawmakers voted 7-4 to send the resolution to the full senate for consideration. If the resolution passes the general assembly this year, it would have to be approved by the legislature during either 2007 or 2008 to appear on the November 2008 ballot for a statewide referendum. (AP)

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