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Nation/World

June 29, 2013

In states, a mix on gay marriage

(Continued)

Ohio activist Ian James of FreedomOhio said his group’s resolve to collect signatures “has been doubled” as a result of the Supreme Court decisions. And Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat who favors repealing his state’s ban, said the court action “underscores the urgency of extending the freedom to marry to all our citizens.”

“Oregon has not yet lived up to the ideal of equal rights for all,” Kitzhaber said.

In Indiana and West Virginia, some Republican politicians want to move in the other direction, joining the ranks of states with constitutional bans. Both states have laws that bar gays from marrying, but constitutional amendments are viewed as more durable measures that resist being overturned by litigation.

The leaders of Indiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature had deferred action on an amendment during this year’s session, opting to wait for the Supreme Court rulings. Now, with the backing of GOP Gov. Mike Pence, they say the Legislature will consider the ban in the session starting in January, possibly putting the question to voters later next year.

Micah Clark, executive director of the conservative American Family Association of Indiana, was pleased by that prospect.

“The future of marriage matters,” he said. “And it belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters, not the courts, not Hollywood, and not the activists seeking to change it from what it is and always has been.”

West Virginia, like Indiana, has a state law prohibiting gay marriages. Until now, though, it has not joined the parade of states taking a further step with a constitutional amendment. After the Supreme Court rulings, the leader of the large Republican minority in the House of Delegates suggested there is now an urgent need for an amendment,

“We don’t know when someone might file a lawsuit or have some other issue come up where a judge can review that,” said Tim Armstead. “We need to go to the next step.”

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