(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana lawmakers will wait until next year to vote on a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Republican leaders announced Thursday.
The amendment, which also seeks to outlaw gay civil unions, has to be passed by the state legislature either this year or next before it goes to Indiana voters for a final say in November of 2014. The legislation previously passed the General Assembly in 2011, but must do so twice with the exact same language in order to go to the statewide ballot.
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) said their caucuses want to wait and see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue this summer.
The justices will decide on two cases: one regarding the constitutionality of California’s amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, the other whether gay legally married couples are entitled to the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
“It is about letting people, not courts, make the decision,” Bosma said.
Both Bosma and Long said they believe Indiana voters will approve the gay marriage ban.
Some critics – both gay marriage supporters and opponents – have criticized the amendment as unnecessary because Indiana’s constitution already defines marriage as between one man and one woman.