INDIANAPOLISThe Indiana House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 13 heard four hours of testimony but did not yet vote on a bill that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.
Committee Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, said they would be taking time to weigh the testimony and a vote would not happen Monday.
Even as more states have recognized marriage equality, along with the federal government, many LGBT Indiana residents now find themselves up against legislation that would not only enshrine a gay marriage ban in the state's constitution, but would also disallow categories that were "identical or substantially similar," such as civil unions. A law banning gay marriage is already in place; Indiana is one of just four states that does not have its anti-gay marriage law in its constitution.
Companion legislation ostensibly clarifies the constitutional ban, explaining that it is not intended to circumvent anti-discrimination ordinances nor existing legal arrangements between couples.
Indiana University General Counsel Jackie Simmons, testifying before the Committee, said that IU's domestic partner benefits would be in jeopardy because of the two bills, and that the need for clarifying language pointed to inherent problems with the amendment in the first place, according to Evansville Courier & Press.
If the legislation passes the Committee it will go onto the full House. Since the bills apply to a constitutional amendment, they must pass the full legislature in two consecutive sessions, and will then be put on a ballot for voters to decide.
Opponents of the bill arrived at the Statehouse wearing red t-shirts. "It was such an amazing sight to look around the House chamber and Statehouse halls and see so many Hoosiers decked out in red to show their opposition to this divisive amendment that would harm our friends, neighbors and families," said Megan Robertson, campaign manager for LGBT-rights organization Freedom Indiana, in a statement. "Hoosiers opposed to this amendment have made thousands of calls to lawmakers and written nearly 15,000 letters to make it clear that we will not rest until our Constitution is protected and all Hoosiers are protected under it."
Photos by Tim Carroll:
1 -Overflow from the hearing room, supporters of gay marriage and their opponents amassed outside the hearing room to watch through plate glass windows and on close circuit screens.
2 -A rainbow flag waves as a spokesman for Eli Lilly testifies that the ban on gay marriage would be bad for corporations in Indiana as it would make it more difficult for them to recruit the best and brightest.
3 -Eli Lilly executive testifies before the Indiana House Judiciary committee in opposition to a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, and his testimony is carried on close circuit screens to the overflow crowd at the capitol.
4 -Dinah Duvall and Jimmie Ilachild of the Quaker group North Meadow Circle of Friends have a table at the capital building where they are handing out literature in support of same sex marriage in Indiana.
5 -Marcus McGhee (Indianapolis), Kelsie Ferguson (South Bend), Brittney Erp (South Bend), Erika Cruz (South Bend) and Pat Cline (Brownsburg), members of the group Freedom Indiana show their support for same sex marriage before the House Judiciary Committee.
6 -Tammy Vaughn-Kajmowicz and her children Tenley, Jackson and Taylor came to the capital with Tammy's partner (and their mother) Karen who is a police officer. Karen testified before the House Judiciary Committee against the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage.
7 -Tammy Vaughn-Kajmowicz and her children Tenley, Jackson and Taylor sit with Lindsey Clark of the Human Rights Campaign, who is on loan from Chicago to help with the efforts in support of gay marriage in Indiana.