News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 10, 2013

GOP expresses doubt on gay marriage ban


INDIANAPOLIS — Maureen Hayden is the Indiana Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at

What To Know

The Indiana General Assembly has started the process that would amend the Indiana state constitution to include the state’s current legal ban on same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment would also go a step farther by prohibiting recognition of civil unions.

The proposed amendment, filed as House Joint Resolution 6, reads:

“Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The process of amending the Indiana constitution involves several steps: Any proposed amendment must be passed by the Indiana General Assembly in two consecutive legislative terms. The General Assembly approved HJR 6 in 2011; the exact same language in the resolution would have to be passed by the legislature again this year or in 2014 for the proposed amendment to go to a public referendum in 2014.

Some Indiana legislators want to pause the process while the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the issue of same-sex marriage. The court has agreed to hear challenges to the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

The court likely will hear the cases in March, but not rule until late June — after the General Assembly concludes the 2013 session in April.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a series of questions, including one of the most basic: Can states ban gay marriage, or does the Constitution protect that right for all couples?

— Maureen Hayden, CNHI

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