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As the Indiana Senate debates a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, polling data suggests that prohibitive intentions are at odds with state voter consensus.

Indiana Equality Action (IE Action), a nonprofit coalition of LGBT, allied and progressive organizations, released data from their commissioned survey of registered Hoosiers on Tuesday. Conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a research and consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., the poll gathered responses from 400 Indiana voters between March 10-13.

Of that sample, 47% voiced opposition to the gay marriage ban, HJR 6, while 43% were in favor of the legislative move.

According to IE Action’s press release:

“Even more surprising was the diversity of Hoosiers that oppose the marriage amendment; this diversity includes an unexpected number of Republicans and conservatives (65% oppose) and seniors (41% oppose). Many young voters (67%) also opposed the amendment.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill Wednesday, a disheartening blow to the opposition on top of last month’s House approval with an overwhelming 70-26 vote.

At the core of said opposition’s argument against the proposed legislation is the fact that existing state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. Indiana Code states, “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.” No getting around that.

The present bill takes its restrictions a step further, blocking civil unions and domestic partnerships as well.

Some Indiana businesses also take issue with the amendment. According to The Republic, representatives of Cummins Inc., a diesel engine manufacturer headquartered in Columbus, Ind., are concerned about Indiana’s image if the resolution passes.

In a Republic staff report Monday:

“A Cummins executive told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that the resolution ‘sends a powerful message that Indiana is not a place that welcomes people of all backgrounds’ and would hurt the company’s ability to be competitive in global markets because efforts to attract the best talent would become more difficult. ‘We know from experience that the creative and innovative employees we need to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy are reluctant to move to places that do not embrace diversity,’ said Jill Cook, Cummins’ vice president of human resources.”

If not detrimental to state reputation, the bill strikes Hoosiers as an unnecessary distraction at a time when government officials should be addressing more urgent problems, according to IE Action’s poll. Respondents noted the economy and jobs (51%), education (35%) and the state budget and deficit (20%) among others as legislative priorities ahead of gay marriage (7%).

The bill now faces the full Senate. If passed, it will have to wind its way through the General Assembly again in two years before falling into the voters’ laps in 2014.


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