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For anybody watching, it might not have seemed particularly eventful, but because of what did (not) happen during Thursday’s convening of the Indiana Senate, the state will not face a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage this year.
During the session, the Senators advanced House Joint Resolution 3 through second reading without amendment. This means that on Monday, they’ll vote on whether to approve the version of the bill passed by the House. The House, however, modified the text so that the amendment would not also ban other unions like domestic partnerships, which means it’s a new version of the amendment — different from what the Indiana legislature approved in 2011. Because amendments must be approved in identical form in two consecutive legislative sessions, this new version will need to be approved again.
That means, the earliest voters might have the chance to vote on a marriage amendment is probably 2016. By then, court decisions may make such an amendment moot. At the very least, it spares the gay community the psychological trauma of such a campaign this year.