INDIANAPOLIS — Supporters and opponents of gay marriage are already squaring off in a battle over whether to amend Indiana's constitution that could stretch until voters decide the issue in November 2014.
Gay marriage supporters released a report Monday showing that writing the state's ban on gay marriage into the constitution could have broad, unintended consequences, dealing with as many as 614 different laws ranging from ethics rules to tax benefits. Indiana Equality President Rick Sutton said the findings from the study conducted by Indiana University Maurer School of Law Students should at least make lawmakers pause before approving the ban.
Any effort to amend the constitution requires lawmakers to sign off on the measure twice before sending the issue to the voters. With one vote by the Republican-dominated General Assembly already down, and a second approval a foregone conclusion, Sutton said his group's efforts would shift to the ballot box, where voters could see something "probably on the level of a governor's race."
"I believe we'd see a large-scale effort, not unlike a statewide political campaign," he said, noting his group has had already drafted a campaign plan for 2014.
Supporters of the ban, which could take top billing when lawmakers return in January, called the report a scare tactic designed to spook lawmakers who already voted overwhelmingly to approve the ban in 2011.
Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said supporters of the ban modeled the Indiana measure off of ones approved a decade earlier in Wisconsin and Kentucky.
"It's been in place for 10 years with no negative consequences. It has not affected the universities. It has not affected the businesses. It's simply kept marriage as defined in Kentucky and Wisconsin law, and we think it would do the same thing here," he said.