Friday, December 14, 2012

Poll Shows Majority Of Hoosiers Oppose Constitutional Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

A new poll taken by WISH-TV and the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University reflects changing attitudes among Hoosiers towards the recognition of same-sex marriage. A majority, or 55%, said they would support state recognition of civil unions between same-sex couples. At the same time, 54% opposed a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages, while only 38% expressed support for the amendment. Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act already bans same-sex marriages in Indiana, a law that has been upheld as constitutional. Nonetheless, some social conservatives are pushing for passage of the proposed constitutional amendment by the legislature this year in order to put it on the ballot next year. That amendment would also bar recognition of any rights similar to marriage for unmarried couples, straight or gay, a change that many believe could adversely impact domestic partner benefits offered by many employers to unmarried couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear two cases on the subject. One involves a same-sex marriage ban adopted by California voters, while the other case involves a challenge to a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Some argue that Indiana should avoid any further law changes in the area until the high court has issued ruling in these cases, particularly since Indiana's current law has already been deemed constitutional by our state courts. Republican leaders hinted this week that the issue will be taken up. Senate Majority Leader James Merritt said he expects the measure to be introduced in the Senate, and the leadership will follow the wishes of the 37-member Republican caucus. House Speaker Brian Bosma has said the amendment is not a priority issue, but he expects it to be introduced and treated like any other bill.

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