Citing the marriage equality cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, legislators in Indiana decided Thursday to delay, until next year, a vote on amending the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
The amendment, which has already been approved by the legislature once, would have to approved again this year or next before going to voters for final ratification in 2014. But if the Supreme Court finds such measures violate the U.S. Constitution, that could throw a wrench into the process.
"Prudence dictates that we wait," said House speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, The Indianapolis Star reports. He explained that if legislators voted this year, "we could find ourselves in the very inadvisable situation of having a matter on the ballot in 2014 that has been ruled unconstitutional and there is no means of removing it from the ballot."
While the delay does not affect when the amendment would become law, LGBT activists welcomed it nonetheless. "A delay is by no means a win," Rick Sutton, executive director of Indiana Equality Action, told the Star. "But we believe we are headed in a better direction."
In protest of the proposed amendment, the mayor of Bloomington, home to Indiana University, officiated marriages (albeit not legally recognized ones) for several same-sex couples last week. View a slideshow here.