[JURIST] Indiana’s House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an amendment [HJR 6 text; legislative materials] to the state’s constitution that would ban same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] and civil unions and prohibit government recognition of those performed in other states. The proposed amendment, which passed by a margin of 70-26 [South Bend Tribune report], 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.” In order to become law, Indiana’s constitution requires [Art 16 text] that both houses of the General Assembly [official website] approve the resolution, that both houses of the next separately elected General Assembly approve the resolution, and finally that the voters approve the resolution after it has been approved by consecutive General Assemblies. This means that the resolution cannot take effect until at least 2014. The Indiana Senate has yet to vote on the resolution.
Last week, the Hawaii House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions [JURIST report] in the state. The bill must still survive a vote in the state senate and be signed by Governor Neil Abercrombie. Earlier this month, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed a bill [JURIST report] legalizing same-sex civil unions in the state. The “Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act,” seeks to provide “adequate procedures for the certification and registration of a civil union” as well as to provide “persons entering into a civil union with the obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.” The law, which opponents fear move Illinois closer to approving same-sex marriage, will go into effect June 1. Last month the Wyoming Senate voted 20-10 in favor of a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] that would prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages from any jurisdiction. The decision, which was split down party lines, will advance to the state House of Representatives, where it needs a two-thirds vote to succeed. If approved there, it will need to be signed by Governor Matt Mead (R) and then appear as a referendum item on the 2012 ballot. The following day, the House Judiciary Committee also voted 5-4 [Star-Tribune report] to defeat House Bill 150, which would have recognized civil unions in the state.