FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- There seems to be a lot of confusion about the status of gay marriage in Indiana.
Now that Indiana’s House of Representatives has just voted to change the language in a key measure, where do things stand?
The first thing people need to know is that gay marriage is not legal in Indiana.
So what's been going on at the statehouse?
The measure known as HJR-3 would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage.
It's a move that would make a gay marriage ban that much more difficult to overturn since a judge could no longer rule that banning gay marriage would be unconstitutional in the Hoosier state.
But it's a complicated process.
The measure being considered at the statehouse right now began in 2011, banning not only gay marriage but civil unions, as well.
A marriage would allow couples to have more than a thousand federal benefits like filing joint tax returns and getting social security.
A civil union affords some benefits at the state level.
However, the Indiana House just approved changing the wording of HJR-3 to still ban gay marriage, but allow civil unions.
And now the senate is considering that version of the bill, meaning the entire process might have to wait.
“In order for the constitution to be amended in Indiana, two consecutively elected general assemblies must pass the same wording. So if the wording is changed this time, then we get to wait until 2015 or 2016, because each general assembly meets for two years, for them to try and pass the exact same wording passed this year,” says Andy Downs, executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.
In order for a gay marriage or civil union ban to be put in the state constitution, the measure must be passed in those two consecutively elected legislatures.
It's only after that that it's put on a ballot for Hoosiers to vote on as a final say.
However, if the Supreme Court issues a ruling allowing gay marriages, every state will have to allow gay marriages.
We'll have to see what happens.
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