[JURIST] The Indiana Senate [official website] on Monday approved [text] a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state. The largely Republican Senate approved the amendment, sent from the Indiana House of Representatives after a change that removed a ban on same-sex civil unions, by a vote of 32-17. The proposed amendment must still be approved by both chambers of the General Assembly a second time before it can go before voters on a ballot initiative in 2016. Indiana already has statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriage, but a constitutional amendment would be a further hurdle for any judicial challenges to the state’s marriage policy.
Controversy over same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues in the US, with 33 states having bans on the practice and 17 permitting it. Earlier this month a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] struck down [JURIST report] Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. A day before, four Louisiana couples filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriages. Also in February, the Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto [official website] announced that her office would no longer defend [JURIST report] challenges to the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.