Indiana House Passes Ban on Marriage for Gay and Lesbian Couples

February 16, 2011
The Indiana House approved a constitutional ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples on Tuesday evening with a 70-26 vote. The vote took place after a debate that lasted less than 30 minutes, reports the Courier Press. The amendment not only prohibits marriage for gay and lesbian couples, but also any legal relationship status that is “substantially similar.” As a result, civil unions would also be banned under the legislation. It is already illegal for same-sex couples to get married in Indiana, but unlike the current law, a constitutional amendment could not be overturned by the state’s courts. The amendment now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to pass. Though the amendment is expected to pass the Senate this legislative cycle, change to the state’s constitution would not occur for potentially three years. Since it is a constitutional amendment, the legislation must be approved by two separately elected legislatures and by the state’s voters. The ban would need to pass the House and the Senate in either 2013 or 2014, and then it would be put up for a vote in a statewide referendum. As we have reiterated time and again, legislation that prohibits marriage equality puts loving gay and lesbian couples in harms way. GLAAD encourages media outlets to cover this issue and to explore the stories of those who will be impacted most. We are closely monitoring the media coverage in Indiana and other states where marriage equality is making headlines.