Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

January 31, 2013

Ballot question may slow down same-sex marriage ban amendment

INDIANAPOLIS — One of the issues slowing down the proposed same-sex marriage ban amendment is the question of how to remove it from the 2014 ballot if the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer that such bans are unconstitutional.

According to elections officials with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, the state would have no authority to remove the question from the ballot, short of a court order.

It’s just one of the legal entanglements causing some key legislative leaders to push for a delay on a vote by the General Assembly to put the constitutional amendment up to voters in the 2014 election.

“What a waste of money and time and effort if the Supreme Court rules one way and we’re sticking something on the ballot that says the other,” said Republican state Sen. Brent Steele, the influential chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the measure may end up.

Steele said “cooler heads” in the legislature are pushing for a delay on what’s become a hot-button issue. They want to see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on two cases involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule in July, after the General Assembly ends its session in April.

On Thursday, both Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma and Republican Senate President David Long said they’ll decide next week how to proceed.

Long said he’s considering the legal issues involved if the General Assembly votes to put the amendment on the November 2014 ballot. He said the unpredictability of the high court “gives people pause.”

Bosma said he personally thinks its “inadvisable” to move forward until the Supreme Court weighs in, but added that he won’t make that decision by himself.

Indiana already has a law banning same-sex marriage. But proponents of the amendment, which bans same-sex civil unions as well as same-sex marriage, want it locked it into the state’s constitution.

Amending the constitution is a three-step process in Indiana. The General Assembly took the first step in 2011 when it voted overwhelmingly to put a ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions into the state constitution.

The legislature has to vote again on the exact same language, either this session or next year, for the third step to occur: Putting the question on the November 2014 ballot for a public vote.

If the legislature votes for the amendment now and the U.S. Supreme Court rules in July that such bans are unconstitutional, Indiana would still be obligated to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.

Valerie Kroeger, a spokeswoman with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections, said it would take an outside party filing a lawsuit to get a court order to remove the question from the ballot.

An increasing number of Republican legislators who voted for the amendment in 2011 are coming out either in direct opposition to the amendment, or calling for a delay on it until after the Supreme Court weighs in.

Proponents of the amendment, including the Indiana Family Institute, are pushing Indiana lawmakers to vote on the amendment during the current session. They argue that such a vote would send a strong message to the U.S. Supreme Court and could impact the court’s decision.

Opponents of the amendment believe they’d benefit from a one-year delay, given the shift in public opinion on the issue. A delay would give them more time to convince Indiana lawmakers that public support for a constitutional ban is waning.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks