Supporters and Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage Square Off in Indiana

In Indiana, a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage has been approved by a 42-8 vote in the Senate and awaits a decision from the House. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, supporters and opponents will meet head on to voice their opinions.

Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Monticello), the amendment’s lead sponsor, and Representative David Orentlicher (D-Indianapolis), an opponent to the bill, will both speak at a forum to be held at noon today at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.

The bill, titled Senate Joint Resolution 7, reads: “Marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Neither this Constitution nor any other Indiana law may be construed to confer marital status or any legal incidents of marriage upon unmarried couples or groups.” During the forum, Hershman and Orentlicher will focus on the legality of same-sex marriages in the state and how the bill will affect gay constituents and protect traditional marriage.

On Tuesday, Sen. Hershman will speak at the Traditional Marriage Rally, organized by the conservative group Advance America. The rally will take place at noon at the Statehouse. Advance America’s founder, Eric Miller, will also speak at the rally, along with Attorney General Steve Carter and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis).

A counter-rally will be held at the same time. Opponents argue that the amendment provides the basis for discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The amendment must be approved by the House and then be approved again by state legislators in 2007 or 2008, before it can be placed on a ballot for public vote.