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Passage of HJR-6 would let voters decide fate of marriage in Indiana

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Indiana’s legislators want to pass an amendment to the state constitution would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Members of the Republican-controlled will vote on a bill that would put the issue before voters in the 2014 election.

The text of HJR-6 reads:

Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

State statute defines marriage in this way. Many other states have similar constitutional amendment. Such laws face an uncertain future, especially after a federal district court struck down a similar amendment to the Utah State Constitution.

Indiana University and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce oppose the measure. Indiana Equality Action leads a coalition of groups fighting the proposed amendment. The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce ¬organization believes that this constitutional amendment may keep businesses away from the state. Socially conservative groups, including Advance America, support the bill.

People on both sides of the issue will watch the battle in the legislature with interest. Indiana is one of the last places where the battle is fought in the legislature. A similar battle is taking place in the courts of Pennsylvania. State judges forced a county clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this year.

Sixteen states currently allow same-sex couples to marry. Illinois will become the seventeenth state when a law allowing same-sex marriage goes into effect this summer.

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