Hoosier State Battleground: Indiana Considers Constitutional Ban On Gay Marriage

Don’t gloat about our Election Day victories just yet: A constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in Indiana could be passed within the next two years. Legislators already voted to put the ban into the constitution once, but it now has to pass the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014 in order to be ratified.

National polls—and recent wins in Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota—have seen support swing toward equal marriage, but Indiana leans conservative: When the ban was voted on in 2011, it passed by a 44-vote margin, with 11 Democrats and all but one Republican, Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany), supporting it.

A poll last month indicated residents support a constitutional ban, authored by Rep. Eric Turner (R-Marion), 48% to 45%.   “The basic unit of society is the family, and the cornerstone of the family is marriage,” Turner said last year. “Marriage is and should be between one man and one woman.”

Representatives will decide when to resubmit the ban amendment at a House leadership meeting in December. Ironically, a public referendum might be the only thing that stops it from becoming law: Indiana Equality Action director Rick Sutton is hoping to bring the ban before voters in 2014, who he believes have evolved more than their representatives in the Statehouse.

In the meantime, progressive cities like Indianapolis have granted partner benefits to gay and lesbian municipal employees.