Groups Spar Over Marriage In Dueling Protests

Opponents Of Constitutional Amendment Drown Out Supporters

The future of marriage in Indiana sparked a noisy, and at times nasty, verbal confrontation outside the Statehouse on Monday.

The rally was sponsored by two groups pushing the state to adopt a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, an issue that has divided the Legislature for three sessions, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

"With the stroke of a pen, a judge can say the statute is unconstitutional, as they have in Iowa, Massachusetts, California, and elsewhere," said Curt Smith with the Indiana Family Institute. "So we want to remove the issue of what is marriage, what is family from judicial activism."

The proposed amendment was headed to a referendum under Republicans, but when Democrats took control of the House, Speaker Pat Bauer derailed the measure.

"I think it's a result of the speaker of the house, the Democrat," said Maggie Gallagher with the National Organization for Marriage. "I don't know why he keeps blocking the right of the people of, of Indiana to vote for marriage."

Soon after the official rally began, a group of same-sex marriage supporters joined the fray, sparking a shouting match between the two parties.

The rhetoric got nasty at times, but a police presence appeared to keep things in hand.

Larry Gist with Gay Indy Gatherings said the last thing Indiana needs is a constitutional amendment promoting exclusion.

"We firmly believe that marriage should not be limited to just one man and one woman, but by two people who are in love with each other," he said.

Even if Republicans take back the House this fall and start the referendum process all over again, it would not be until 2014 before Hoosiers could vote on the issue.