Indiana senators split on same-sex marriage bill

Indiana’s two senators split their vote on bipartisan legislation that would protect same-sex and interracial marriages that cleared the Senate on Tuesday night.

The bill, which would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law, was approved 61-36 on Tuesday, including support from 12 Republicans, The Associated Press reported. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, voted in favor of the bill, while Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, voted against it, according to congressional records.

The vote was seen as an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage nationwide, according to wire reports.

“Since the Obergefell decision in 2015, most Hoosiers consider this issue settled,” Young told The Republic in a statement earlier this month after voting in favor of debating the bill. “If the federal government is going to have involvement in the issue of marriage, it’s imperative that freedom of religion is not infringed in any way. After carefully reviewing the revised bill, I’m confident it provides important religious liberty protections Hoosiers want and the Constitution requires.”

Braun’s staff did not reply to a request for comment on why he opposed the bill.

Earlier this year, Braun told reporters that the Supreme Court was wrong to legalize interracial marriage nationwide and should instead allow individual states to decide such issues.

Braun later walked back those comments, saying that he misunderstood “a line of questioning” and emphasized that he condemns racism “in any form.”

Democrats are moving quickly on the same-sex marriage bill, while the party still holds the majority in both chambers of Congress, according to wire reports. The legislation now moves to the House for a final vote.

President Joe Biden praised Tuesday’s bipartisan vote and said he will sign the bill “promptly and proudly” if it is passed by the House. He said it will ensure that LGBTQ youth “will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives and build families of their own.”

The legislation would not force any state to allow same-sex couples to marry, according to wire reports. But it would require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed, and protect current same-sex unions, if the court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision were to be overturned. It’s a stunning bipartisan endorsement, and evidence of societal change, after years of bitter divisiveness on the issue.

A new law protecting same-sex marriages would be a major victory for Democrats as they relinquish their two years of consolidated power in Washington, and a massive win for advocates who have been pushing for decades for federal legislation, according to the AP. It comes as the LGBTQ community has faced violent attacks, such as the shooting last weekend at a gay nightclub in Colorado that killed five people and injured at least 17.

This story is by Andy East, a reporter for The (Columbus) Republic, a sister newspaper to the Daily Journal.