Indiana has come one step closer to approving a resolution that would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage.
The Senate Rules Committee voted 8 to 4 in favor of House Joint Resolution 3 on Monday, which if approved by voters will add an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as being between one man and one woman only.
"Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized," reads the amendment in part.
Having passed committee, HJR 3 will be brought to the Senate floor as early as Thursday, reported Mike Perleberg of the local media outlet Eagle Country.
"Monday's vote came after three hours of testimony on the proposal," wrote Perleberg, noting that some expressed concern over the economic impact of the amendment should voters approve it.
Last month, the Indiana House of Representatives voted 57 to 40 to pass HJR 3, which if approved by both houses of the legislature will go on the state ballot come November.
Republican Representative Eric Turner, author of the resolution, said in a statement that HJR 3 was about letting the electorate determine the legal definition of marriage.
"The future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters; not judges, not the media, not activists, not lobbyists," said Turner.
HJR 3 did undergo some amending to allow civil unions before being passed by the House and sent to the Senate, according to FOX 59.
"While the House passed HJR-3, it did so after removing the measure's second sentence that would have effectively banned civil unions as well," reported FOX.
The Indiana legislature's consideration of HJR 3 comes as other elected bodies move to legalize same-sex marriage and lawsuits are filed in various states challenging the constitutionality of similar constitutional amendments.
Indiana Equality Action, a pro-gay marriage group, has attempted to stop the resolution from being passed.
"It is on track to become the first time in Indiana's history when our constitution is amended to take away rights rather than to grant them," reads an entry on their website.
"Lots of people are not even aware this is happening. It is OUR job to talk with them, to engage them in conversation. It is very difficult to argue against one's personal experience."
The Indiana Family Institute has been in supporting the proposed legislation, calling on Indianans to encourage their Senators to approve HJR 3.
"A vote against restoring the Marriage Amendment is a vote to kill the Marriage Amendment and opens the door to same-sex 'marriage' in Indiana," stated the Institute.
"The opponents of marriage show up in large numbers and make their views known. Just by showing up you will send a message to legislators that the people of Indiana want to decide the future of marriage in Indiana."
Presently the state of Indiana does not legally recognize same-sex marriages.