Gay marriage fight draws Dem challenger for ban author

Proposed ban goes before full House Monday

INDIANAPOLIS - A former Statehouse reporter is looking to unseat the Indiana Republican who authored a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.

Bob Ashley announced Friday that he'll seek the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Rep. Eric Turner of Cicero. The former journalist and U.S. Army Veteran said Turner's drafting of the marriage ban spurred him to enter the race.

This came just a few days before the proposed ban was all set to go before the full Indiana House of Representatives Monday.

Ashley calls the proposed ban an "abomination" and criticized Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma for shepherding the measure to a full vote before the House.

The Tipton native used to cover state politics for the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath proposed to delete the portion of the amendment that banned civil unions.

In order to add something into the state's constitution, two consecutive general assemblies must approve the exact same wording.

Both supporters and opponents of the marriage amendment lobbied lawmakers at the statehouse on Monday. 

Peter Sprigg with the Family Research Council reinforced the definition of marriage.

"This is an issue of what the definition of marriage is. Everyone has the equal right to marry. But, marriage by definition is the union of a man and a woman. Someone who is choosing something other than that is not choosing marriage," Sprigg said.

Peter Hanscom with Freedom Indiana said his team would keep fighting until the end.

"We'll keep pulling all the way through March 14th at midnight. We've already seen through this process some tricks the legislature has played on us, and we won't lie down until we know for sure HJR3 is dead," Hanscom said.

Under legislative rules, the house can't vote on the amendment Monday, but a vote was expected before the end of the week.

If both chambers approve the amendment, it would appear on the ballot in November.

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