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Bill Aims to Clarify Gay Marriage Ban; Legislators Disagee On Its Meaning

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Republican legislative leaders say a companion bill to the state’s proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage is meant to ease concerns some have expressed over the potential effect of the amendment. 

But GOP leaders still can’t agree on what the amendment or companion bill will do.

There are two sentences in the same sex marriage ban amendment, formerly referred to as HJR-6 and now called HJR-3.  The first sentence says marriage can only be between one man and one woman.  The second bans a legal status substantially similar to marriage for unmarried individuals and has been interpreted by some to exclude private companies and local governments from offering benefits to same sex couples. 

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says a companion bill to the amendment takes some of the “sting” out of passing the amendment.

“I think this is the best way to go about it, to make a very clear statement from the legislature as to what we believe the law says and a very clear path for the courts as far as where we think they should not go,” Long said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma says the companion bill indicates the amendment prohibits civil unions but not domestic partnerships.  Long says the companion bill leaves open the possibility of both civil unions and domestic partnerships. 

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says that confusion alone is proof that the amendment should be halted.

“They’ve got some sort of a monster they’ve created and now they’re trying to dress up or make the monster a little bit prettier,” Lanane said. “It’s still discrimination.”

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the marriage amendment Monday. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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