Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Union Clause Cut from Ban Bill ; House Vote Will Delay Amendment Referendum

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Union Clause Cut from Ban Bill ; House Vote Will Delay Amendment Referendum

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana House of Representatives voted Monday to strip controversial language banning civil unions from a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. With 23 Republicans joining 29 Democrats, the House voted 52-43 to adopt an amendment to House Joint Resolution 3 offered by Republican state Rep. Randy Truitt of West Lafayette. The House could take a final vote as early as Tuesday on the amended resolution that would still write a same- sex marriage ban into Indiana's constitution.

The vote would be a defining moment for the measure. If the General Assembly passes the amended version, it would have the effect of delaying a potential referendum on a constitutional same- sex marriage ban until 2016.

Of the Southwestern Indiana delegation, state Reps. Ron Bacon, R- Chandler; Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes; Wendy McNamara, R-Mount Vernon; Gail Riecken, D-Evansville; and Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville; voted to remove the civil unions ban from the amendment.

McNamara said when the General Assembly initially voted on the amendment in 2011, there was little to no discussion on the civil unions ban that is found in the second sentence of the proposal.

"I felt from that day forward I had concerns over that, and I shared those concerns," McNamara said. "So folks knew that I had concerns over the interpretation and ambiguity of that sentence. Those concerns, as we continued to go through the process, never went away."

McNamara has said she will support the resolution now that the civil unions ban was removed.

The resolution's main sponsor, state Rep. Eric Turner, R- Cicero, said the resolution, as initially written, is the correct public policy for the state. The civil unions ban sought to prohibit legal statuses identical or substantially similar to marriage.

Turner said Truitt's amendment prolonged the debate. A constitutional amendment requires the passage of two separately elected General Assemblies to go on a ballot. …

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