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Associated Press
Protesters of the proposed amendment to the state's constitution to ban gay marriage gather Jan. 22 at the Statehouse.

Indiana Senate approves diluted gay marriage ban

INDIANAPOLIS – The push to ban gay marriage in the Indiana Constitution passed the Indiana Senate 32-17 Monday, but opponents still claimed victory in delaying a public vote on the measure until 2016.

"We can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief that lawmakers are finished with the amendment this session, and it will not appear on the ballot this November,” said Megan Robertson, campaign manager for the bipartisan coalition Freedom Indiana.

“We were underdogs in this fight from the outset, but our success reflects the strength of the incredible coalition we were able to build in just six months. Every Hoosier who made a phone call, wrote a letter, sent an email, showed up at the Statehouse or helped oppose HJR-3 in another way should be proud today.”

Five Republicans voted against the proposal and all northeast Indiana senators supported it.

House Joint Resolution 3 defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Indiana law already mirrors this language, but some felt constitutional protection was needed in addition.

The House earlier this session removed the second sentence banning anything “substantially similar” to marriage, including civil unions.

If the language had remained, Hoosiers could have voted on the measure in November.

But since the language changed, the process to amend the Constitution restarts – requiring another separately elected legislature to approve the same language in 2015 or 2016 before a public vote.

Nothing the state does can stop a federal judge from deciding gay marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution.

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