Area Lawmakers Speak Out About Same-Sex Marriage Ban Amendment (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 14, 2014 Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 5:16 PM EST

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- A decision on Indiana's proposal to add a same-sex marriage ban to the state constitution is in a holding pattern, after a legislative committee on Monday put off a vote.

The debate rolled on for three and a half hours in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, before discussion was suspended on the constitutional amendment with no vote taken.

Representative Casey Cox from Fort Wayne, brand new to the legislature, is on that committee.

" I can attest that it is an issue that is of significant passion to a lot of people on both sides of the issue, and I think it's appropriate to take some time and reflect," Cox said when we caught up with him during a visit to the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

The amendment would make the ban to same-sex marriage a part of the Indiana Constitution.

A companion bill has been crafted to clarify that the amendment is not intended to deny employer health benefits to same-sex couples, or to circumvent local ordinances that forbid discrimination.

But Democrats say that companion bill is not helping to settle anxieties of gay rights supporters.

" What was a confusing issue has just become more confusing, especially if you heard the testimony yesterday," said State Representative Phil Giaquinta, a Democrat from Fort Wayne.

The head of the state senate, from Fort Wayne, has gone on record saying he doesn't want to see this be a priority bill this session, but he has also made it clear he doesn't want to see it get thrown on the junk heap either.

Despite powerful companies like Eli Lilly and Company lobbying to defeat the amendment, David Long believes it should be put on the November ballot.

" I really feel it's time for the voters, the people of Indiana to weigh in. I trust their judgment on this. It's the will of the House and Senate membership to decide this," Long said.

State Senator Tom Wyss from Allen County is convinced that marriage is between a man and a woman, but beyond that, he feels like the lines get blurred.

" Maybe that's something that God answers and we as men and women don't have to worry about down here," Wyss said.

The debate could pick back up in the House Judiciary Committee later this week.




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