Senate move means earliest amendment could get to voters is 2016


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INDIANAPOLIS — Opponents of an effort to place Indiana’s gay marriage ban in the state constitution won a surprising victory Thursday as the Senate effectively pushed off a statewide vote on the issue for at least two years, and possibly longer.

In a parliamentary move that spared state senators a tough vote on the measure, the Senate advanced the marriage ban without the “second sentence” ban on civil unions. The House stripped that language from the amendment before passing it last month, and the Senate’s decision not to restore the language before voting Thursday means the effort to amend the constitution must start fresh.

The earliest it could get to voters is 2016.

The expansive language had raised concerns among many lawmakers, including those who otherwise supported limiting marriage to being between one man and one woman.

Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, is among those who is generally in favor of defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, but he was set Thursday to vote against the measure if someone proposed putting the second sentence back in.

Turns out he didn’t have to.

Indiana requires constitutional amendments to be approved in the same form in two consecutive biennial meetings of the General Assembly. Even if Indiana’s marriage ban clears the Senate on a final vote Monday, it would have to be debated again in the next biennial session, 2015-16, before it could appear before voters.

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