INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The General Assembly will take up a proposal after the first of the year to permanently ban gay marriage and a new exclusive poll shows that the public is sharply divided on the subject.
The WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey also shows that there is support for civil unions.
The Hoosier Survey shows that 45% support allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry. An identical 45% are opposed to the idea with 10% undecided.
The other findings are also eye-catching. Only 38% support the constitutional ban on gay marriage that will appear on the Indiana ballot in 2014 if the legislature approves it in 2013. Fifty four percent oppose it. "There are more Republicans who would like to see it in the constitution," says Ball State political scientist Joe Losco, "but Democrats and independents are strongly against it."
And when it comes to civil unions 55% are in support with 37% opposed. "But we have been saying for a long time the public's way ahead of the legislature on this," says Rick Sutton of Indiana Equality.
Curt Smith is an opponent of gay marriage. He heads the Indiana Family Institute and says a poll he commissioned earlier this year shows support for a ban on gay marriage. "But I think that's good public policy,"says Smith, "and so do the author's of the amendment and, again, we've had strong votes in both Houses of the legislature and if this goes on the ballot I'm confident we'll get a strong vote from Hoosier voters."
Yet Smith also believes that attitudes are changing. "Lot's of people just want to avoid the conflict," he says. "They just don't want to talk about this."
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