Indiana legislature delays vote on anti-gay marriage amendment

Today, legislative leaders from Indiana's House and Senate announced that they would not vote in 2013 on an anti-gay constitutional amendment that proposes to permanently limit the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Lawmakers in the state could still choose to take up the vote during the 2014 legislative session.

Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director, Marc Solomon, celebrated the announcement today. He said:

It's encouraging to see Indiana's leaders making this choice, because limiting the freedom to marry is never in the best interest of a state, its residents, or its businesses. Just as corporate allies like Eli Lilly and Cummins stood against this amendment, Freedom to Marry will continue to press for actions that take us forward, not backward, on marriage. This announcement gives the people of Indiana some much-needed time to have important conversations about marriage and freedom. The timing is right, with the Supreme Court hearing marriage cases next month, and the momentum is for including all loving and committed couples in marriage. 

Indiana Equality Action's executive director Rick Sutton also applauded the lawmakers for not moving forward this year with the damaging amendment. He said:

Today, we celebrate the evolution of this debate and the open, honest dialogue we have had with lawmakers about the amendment's effect on our state, our economy and our future. A delay is by no means a win, but we believe we are headed in a better direction, and Indiana is stronger when we all move forward together. 

A December 2012 poll indicated that a majority of residents in Indiana opposed the anti-gay amendment - the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University and WISH-TV found that 54 percent of respondents said they oppose changing the state constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples, and just 38 percent said they supported the move.  

Today's announcement is the latest example of growing support for the freedom to marry in nearly every region of the United States - states that are taking steps forward rather than backward on marriage for same-sex couples. 

Yesterday, lawmakers in Texas introduced constitutional amendments that would repeal an anti-gay amendment passed in 2005 that constitutionally restricts marriage to different-sex couples. Reps. Rafael Anchia of Dallas and Garnet Coleman of Houston introduced the new amendments yesterday, with Anchia saying, "It is time we revisit this issue; it is time we treat all Texans with dignity and respect."

Last month, bills working to move marriage forward advanced out of committee in New Mexico and Wyoming. In New Mexico, Rep. Brian Egolf introduced a bill that would put the freedom to marry on the ballot in 2014, and on January 31, it passed out of a committee and will now be considered by a different committee. Also in January, a bill that would establish domestic partnership - a lesser mechanism of relationship respect that would provide at least some measure of protection for same-sex couples and their families - passed out of a Wyoming House committee. The bill was eventually rejected, but it marked the first time any legislation to protect same-sex couples saw any movement in the state of Wyoming. 

These developments in Indiana, Texas, Wyoming, and New Mexico show that across the country, legislators are raising their voices in support of the freedom to marry and in opposition to limiting marriage for same-sex couples. They demonstrate rapid growth on the issue throughout the country and indicate that the momentum for marriage is on our side. 

You can strengthen the momentum for the freedom to marry by donating to Freedom to Marry's Win More States Fund, which will raise and invest $2 million in 2013 to strengthen the efforts to win marriage in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. DONATE TODAY.