House passes same-sex marriage amendment

(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)
(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There was another vote on gay marriage at the Statehouse Tuesday and this time there was a different outcome.

Supporters of a permanent ban on gay marriage won. It means that the gay marriage debate continues.

The Indiana House of Representatives approved the marriage amendment easily after a ban on civil unions was removed from it Monday night. There were tears as supporters of gay marriage gathered following the House vote. They aren’t giving up.

“The momentum is on our side,” said Kyle Megrath of Freedom Indiana, the group organizing opposition to the marriage amendment.

But gone was the celebration of Monday night.

“The question is, how far do we go?” said Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) on the House floor. “How far? What is acceptable?”

This vote was about the definition of marriage, confining it to one man and one woman.

“Fact is, we have not dismantled this bomb,” said Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Minority Leader). “We’ve simply placed a longer fuse on it before it detonates in all our faces.”

It was a vote that could kill the debate altogether or send it to a referendum. The planned referendum is now set to take place in 2016 rather than in November as originally planned.

Republican leaders won’t give up on it.

“Let’s not make it political,” said House Majority Leader Bill Friend. “It’s personal, emotional. It’s in your heart.”

“What are you afraid of?” asked Rep. Rhonda Rhoads (R-Corydon). “Are you afraid of the people? Afraid for them to vote?”

And when the vote was tallied the marriage amendment passed on a vote of 57-40.

Hearings in the state Senate will begin during the week of Feb. 10.

It’s possible that Senators could revive the ban on civil unions and restore a referendum this year.

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