Second sentence in marriage amendment stirs opposition

January 16th, 2014 at 3:42 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

There’s a new focus in the gay marriage debate at the Statehouse.  It’s civil unions.

The marriage amendment that would permanently ban gay marriage would also outlaw civil unions and when voters find that out, opinions shift.

The marriage amendment contains two sentences.  The first one:  “Provides that only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Indiana.”

The second one outlaws civil unions:  “Provides that a legal status identical to or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

Supporters say that without it, a judge would find the gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

“So the second sentence is vitally important,” says Eric Miller of Advance America.  “It’s identical to what’s in Kentucky and Wisconsin and it’s necessary in order to protect marriage between a man and a woman in Indiana.”

Which brings us to a new statewide poll of 800 voters released by the Republican Party.

It shows that 58% of Indiana voters support the idea of a permanent ban on gay marriage with just 38% opposed.

But once the second sentence is explained the numbers change.  Suddenly just 40% support the marriage amendment and 54% are opposed.

That gives hope to opponents.  “The more Hoosiers learn about this proposed amendment, the more they’re against it,” says Megan Robertson of Freedom Indiana, “and they’re not comfortable with it.  People are incredibily uncomfortable with the second sentence and what it does to Hoosier families.”

The GOP poll also found that 50% of voters don’t believe the marriage amendment is a priority.

The bottom line is that, if there is a referendum on it in November, voter education will be a will be job one for the people on both sides of the issue.

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