Indiana senators on Thursday approved a
proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage,
Indianapolis CBS affiliate WISH-TV reported.
In a 38 to 10 vote, the state Senate
voted in favor of Republican Senator Carlin Yoder's amendment that
seeks to ban civil unions for gay couples as well as marriage. The
measure now heads to the Indiana House.
“The Marriage Discrimination
Amendment violates every Hoosier's basic right to fairness and
equality,” Randy Studt, president of the gay rights group Indiana
Equality, said in a statement. “It's just an attempt to
distract Hoosiers from the greater issues facing Indiana, threatening
our state's current and future economic development.”
Both chambers of the Assembly need to
approve the resolution twice before voters can weigh in on the issue.
Indiana law already prohibits gay
marriage, but opponents worry gay activists could challenge the law
in the courts.
James Bopp, a prominent anti-gay lawyer
and Terre Haute resident, helped draft the amendment. Bopp is
involved in several high-profile cases involving gay rights,
including a California lawsuit aimed at shielding the identities of
donors to anti-gay campaigns.
lawmakers are preparing to consider a similar measure. On
Tuesday, Pennsylvania state Senator John H. Eichelberger Jr.
introduced a joint resolution that would define marriage as a
heterosexual union in the state constitution.