Indiana Gay Marriage Proposal Takes New Turn

Cummins Says It's Against Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The battle over gay marriage took a new turn at the Indiana Statehouse Wednesday as members of a House committee heard the controversial measure.

The committee did not vote on the measure, and there's now some doubt if they ever will, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

House Rules Committee Chairman Scott Pelath, a Democrat from Michigan City, ended a marathon hearing on the same-sex marriage ban by announcing that he wants members to think hard about how they want to handle it. Pelath said he's open just about any possible solution.

The measure would be controversial enough with only its first section, which bans same-sex marriage.

What has stirred the most discussion is another part of the measure, which would prohibit courts from recognizing what it calls the "legal incidents of marriage." Opponents said that language is vague and could eliminate domestic violence protections for unmarried couples, gay or straight, and might prohibit state universities and private companies from offering domestic partner benefits for unmarried employees.

An executive from Cummins Inc., one of the state's largest employers, said the amendment would make it harder for the big engine maker to recruit quality employees to Indiana.

"Anything that makes Indiana less inclusive and less welcoming for our current employees and for our future employees makes it more difficult for Cummins to compete," said Mark Osowick, Cummins' recruiting director. "This amendment would do just that by sending a message that Indiana is not tolerant of diversity."

Supporters insist that the amendment must pass so that Hoosier voters can go to the polls and uphold what they see as the traditional view of marriage.

"I come to tell you that there is a truth in this world, and we must stand by that truth," said the Rev. Jerry Stephenson, of Jeffersonville. "Procreation is done between one man and one woman, and anything similar to cannot be tolerated."

After Stephenson's comments, Pelath adjourned the meeting, leaving its future plans up in the air.

"We are not going to take a vote on this today, but that in no way means that this matter is leaving this committee," Pelath said.

Pelath has three choices to consider -- vote on the amendment as-is, try to drop the controversial part of the measure or not vote at all.

Speaker Pat Bauer has said there would be a vote.

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