Indiana supporters react to gay marriage law

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Despite the Supreme Court rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in California, gay marriage in Indiana remains right where it was β€” against the law.

While there is no immediate impact on the Hoosier state, both sides hope the Supreme Court rulings could help them as the fight over a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana moves front and center in January.

Chris Paulsen, president of Indiana Equality Action, a group that is fighting a proposed marriage amendment in Indiana, was relieved and excited the Defense of Marriage Act was found unconstitutional. Paulsen immediately received a celebratory text.
"It's a very historical day and I reach out to all who were given equality today. For who we are, tears are actually filling my eyes," she said, reading from her phone. 

The decisions are being celebrated by gay rights advocates and supporters nationwide.  But back home in Indiana, it is a muted celebration.

"It might make people more aware that we are getting ready to move backwards, while the rest of the country is moving forwards," says Paulsen. 

"It does not extend gay marriage. It says if state's choose that as their family law policy, the Feds will have to observe it," says Curt Smith, president of Indiana Family Institute, a group opposed to gay marriage.

Smith admits the rulings were not what he hoped for. But, he said he believes it will help efforts to get a marriage amendment in Indiana.

"We're excited about that. We encourage the legislature to take up that issue in January of next year and we believe Hoosier voters will affirm marriage is one man and one woman," he says.

That's the fight that's coming.

"The fight's not over here in Indiana,” says Paulsen, of Indiana Equality Action. β€œAnd it's going to be a large fight. And we have to come together as a community and with our straight ally's and push for our rights here in Indiana."

But Smith says his side is ready too. 

"We're ready for a fight. We've been itching for a fight for a long time. We would hoped to have this done a lot sooner, but bring it on," Smith says.

That fight is already underway. The speaker of the Indiana House, Republican Brian Bosma, predicts passage of a marriage amendment. A statement from Bosma read in part., "I am confident the matter will come before the General Assembly and ultimately be placed on a referenda ballot for voter consideration."

A statement from Democratic House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said in part, "The time has come for Indiana lawmakers to pour their energies into helping our state's struggling middle class. There is no need to muddy up our state's highest document with an amendment that is likely to be a blemish on Indiana's history.”

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