Gov. Mitch Daniels says businesses talking gay marriage in Indiana

Gov. declines to say if he supports the ban

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mitch Daniels said he has been hearing from companies looking to preserve benefits for gay couples in the state's brewing gay marriage debate.

A measure that would write Indiana's gay marriage ban into the state constitution was approved by lawmakers last year and could come up for a vote again next year. If approved twice, it would go before voters in 2014.

Daniels has never taken a position on the issue and declined Wednesday to say whether he supports the ban.

He said he does not intend to weigh in on the issues as Indiana lawmakers consider whether to put the question to voters in a November 2014 referendum, but that businesses opposing the measure have warned him it would hurt their ability to recruit top candidates.

"I think those businesses ought to speak for themselves. I’ve heard from a number of them, as recently as this morning," Daniels said. "But I’m not telling the next legislature or administration what to do about budgets or other issues, and I think I should let them make that decision then. I’m headed for a different life."

He said he does not believe a constitutional same-sex marriage ban would "isolate" Indiana, since more than 30 other states have adopted bans, too.

He declined to take a position either way on the amendment.

"I’m transitioning out. I’m just going to be one more citizen, as far as I’m concerned, on this question," he said.

Since Republicans retain control of both the House and the Senate, they’d be favored to win such a vote.

But recent public opinion polls show the state’s voters nearly evenly split on the topic, and for the first time, four states voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage this year.

The measure could be on hold for a while, however. The Supreme Court is set to take up the issue and could make any action by lawmakers moot.

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