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Stumbo In Favor of Senate Bill That Would Change Redistricting

A change in the way lawmakers draw redistricting lines is likely to end up in front of voters this fall.

Senate Bill 18 would give legislators more direction in how to split counties during  redistricting, as well as require them to follow federal law. It would throw decades of past state precedent out the window.

The bill is partly a response to this year’s redistricting lawsuit, in which the state Supreme Court threw out new maps.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he supports the change and says it will likely pass both chambers this session.

“To embrace that concept in this session would effectively have been a de facto admission there was a problem. Well now that the court’s already ruled and we know that we do have a problem I think it’s proper in going forward and addressing the issue,” he says.

If voters pass the constitutional amendment, the new rules will be in effect immediately, which will allow lawmakers to use those rules when they try legislative redistricting again in 2013.

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Gay Marriage Amendment Clears Indiana Senate

The Indiana Senate has approved a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.

The Republican-sponsored measure cleared the chamber on a 40 to 10 vote.  The Senate’s public gallery was closed Tuesday after protestors disrupted the previous day’s debate on the measure.

Opponents argue that the legislation is discriminatory.   Some business leaders say such a law would discourage many talented potential workers from taking jobs in Indiana.

Indiana already has a state law on the books banning gay marriage.   Amendment sponsor Dennis Kruse of Auburn says this measure would provide maximum protection for the basic family unit of society.  

The Republican-led House approved the amendment last month.  The measure must pass both the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2013 to go to before voters on the 2014 ballot.

(Information for this story came from the Associated Press)

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Gay Marriage Amendment Proposal Advances In Indiana

A proposal to amend the Indiana Constitution to ban gay marriage and civil unions is on its way to the state Senate.

The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure Wednesday by a 7-3 vote along party lines.

GOP lawmakers rejected Democrats’ argument that banning civil unions could threatened the ability of employers to offer domestic partner benefits.

Indiana already has a law on the books that bans gay marriage, but amendment supporters want the constitutional change to protect it from being overturned by what they call ‘activist judges.’

The proposal has already been approved by the GOP-led House.

If it wins full passage this year, the measure would still have to be approved by the next legislature and then by Indiana voters in order for the state Constitution to be amended.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)

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Panel Hears Testimony On Indiana Gay Marriage Amendment

An Indiana Senate committee heard some three hours of testimony Wednesday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.

The measure has cleared the Republican-controlled House and is expected to win approval in the GOP-led Senate.

Indiana already has a statute on the books banning gay marriage, but Kent Smith of the Indiana Family Institute told the Senate Judiciary Committee that it needs protection from what he calls activist judges.

“Our goal with this amendment is simply to elevate marriage into our highest law, so that the citizens, who, as it’s been noted, own the Constititution, and not judges, will define what marriage is,” he said.

Opponent Jessica Welch said passage of the measure would send a message of intolerance.

“You will go down in history as becoming a road block to the future of this state,” she told lawmakers.

The committee will vote on the measure in a week. If it clears the legislature this year, it must again be approved by the next General Assembly and by voters in 2014 in order for the Constitution to be amended.

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Gay Marriage Amendment Clears Indiana House Panel

Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly are again pushing for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.

A GOP-led House committee voted 8-4 Monday for the proposal, which now goes to the full House.

Indiana law already bans gay marriage, but amendment proponents say it belongs in the Constitution because courts could overturn the state law.

Opponents say the amendment would write discrimination into the state Constitution.

A gay marriage amendment passed the General Assembly in 2005, but it has to clear two legislatures and a public referendum in order to be put into the Constitution.

It has not cleared the House since Democrats took control in 2006, Republicans now hold a majority again in both chambers.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)