INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The state Senate passed a weakened version of the marriage amendment Monday, bringing the gay marriage debate to an end for this year.
The vote was 32-17 to pass the proposed permanent ban on gay marriage. It’s still alive but there will be no referendum until at least 2016.
That’s why the celebration by gay marriage supporters organized by Freedom Indiana was subdued. They won a battle when the second sentence banning civil unions was removed but there may be new battles ahead.
“We definitely made a lot of progress,” said Chris Paulsen of Freedom Indiana. “Nobody thought we would be here six months ago when Freedom Indiana started.”
The somber debate in the state Senate focused on equal rights and morality.
“Your religious beliefs are your business,” said Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage), “but they should not be used to as justification for laws that discriminate against others.”
“I’m going to vote to keep it going,” said Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville), “maybe to give us one last stand. ”
GOP State Senator Mike Delph held a dramatic news conference Monday morning, but he didn’t follow through on a planned motion to reconsider the second sentence, and he didn’t make a speech in the Senate debate.
The marriage amendment must now pass again in 2015 or 2016 if there is to be a statewide referendum.
There is a possibility that lawmakers will never take it up again.