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Indiana Senate approves constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

The Indiana Senate [official website] overwhelmingly approved [action list] on Tuesday an amendment [text] to the State Constitution [text] that would ban same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] or any "substantially similar" status. The measure passed 40-10 after receiving a similarly lop-sided victory [JURIST report] in the House of Representatives [official website] last month. The amendment would reaffirm Indiana's 25-year-old statutory ban on gay marriage [WIBC report]. Opponents of the amendment expressed concern that it will make Indiana appear unwelcoming and deter talented workers [South Bend Tribune report] from coming to the state. Proponents insist the amendment is necessary because the judiciary can easily repeal a statute [The Exponent report]. The amendment would have to be approved again in a newly-elected House and Senate before being submitted to voters in 2014 at the earliest.

The issue of same-sex marriage continues to be hotly debated in the US. Last month, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced that it would no longer defend the constitutionality [JURIST report] of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive], which defines marriage for federal purposes as a legal union between one man and one woman, in court cases challenging the provision. Also in February, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a same-sex civil unions bill into law, while the Wyoming Senate approved a bill that would prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages [JURIST reports] and civil unions performed in other jurisdictions. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, DC [JURIST reports].

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