Indiana House Passes Gay Marriage Ban

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The Indiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage Tuesday, by a 70-26 vote.

The vote was the second time since 2005 that the Indiana House has passed a ban on gay marriage.

"The basic unit of society is the family, and the cornerstone of the family is marriage," the resolution's author, Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion, told the Indianapolis Star. "Marriage is and should be between one man and one woman."

Every Republican but one, Ed Clere, R-New Albany, voted for the ban. Eleven Democrats also voted for it.

The measure now goes before the State Senate for approval. If the measure is approved, the ban would amend Indiana's constitution to only recognize a marriage between one man and one woman.

According to state law, the bill must be approved by the two separately elected legislatures before voters are allowed to decide its fate. If approved by the Senate, voters won't see the measure on the ballot until 2014.

Indiana already has a law preventing the marriage of gay couples. However, some legal experts say the constitutional amendment is necessary to prevent courts from overturning that law.

Gay marriage is legal in a handful of states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa, as well as in the District of Columbia.

On the other side, 30 states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriages.

Maggie Gallagher, chairwoman of National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, told the Associated Press her group is working to increase that number by adding Indiana, Wyoming, and possibly North Carolina - the only state in the South that does not have such an amendment.

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