Senate committee passes gay marriage ban

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/WANE) — The battle over gay marriage is headed to the floor of the state Senate.

The Senate Rules committee voted 8-4 Monday to pass the marriage amendment, known as HJR-3, after a hearing that lasted more than three hours.

It did not consider any amendments.

The hearing attracted the biggest crowd of the 2014 General Assembly with supporters and opponents of the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage turning out in large numbers — some of them showing up hours in advance.

Supporters include a minister who came to the Statehouse from Evansville.

“This movement to accept and sanction same-sex relationships conflicts with Biblical truth,” said Rev. Wayne Harris, “and conflicts with the righteousness that must be preached and the hope that must be offered to those who want to change from a gay lifestyle.”

Opponents include corporate giants Eli Lilly and Cummins.

“In our judgment, HJR-3 undermines the idea of Hoosier Hospitality,” said Stephen Fry of Lilly. “In fact, it sends the signal that Indiana is not a fully welcoming place.”

Republican Senator Tom Wyss from Northeast Indiana is part of the committee that voted to send HJR-3 to the full Senate.  NewsChannel 15 spoke with him over the phone about the vote right after the hearing.  He said the version they passed Monday would permit civil unions.  But, he anticipates someone in the full Senate may want to change that by making an amendment to outlaw it.

“I believe there’s going to be there’s going to be someone who is going to attempt to do it.  I don’t know who yet or anything, but just from what I’ve heard I believe there will be an attempt to put it back in,” Senator Tom Wyss said.

The full Senate will consider amendments later this week that will include attempts to restore the second sentence, which was removed in the Indiana House. That sentence would outlaw civil unions.

If the second sentence is restored, there can be a referendum this year. If not, a referendum would wait until at least 2016.

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