Monday, Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee gave sponsors of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Indiana their first victory of the session. Now the measure will come to a full vote in the House.

Their bill to amend the State Constitution to ban gay marriage passed the Judiciary Committee vote down party lines. Eight Republicans voted for the measure while four Democrats voted against. 

The matter of an amendment to Indiana’s Constitution is far from decided though.  Assuming the measure passes in both houses, it will still have to clear the same hurdles in another legislative session before it appears on the ballot. 

The bill's sponsor said it's a matter of protecting the existing law. Current Indiana law defines marriage between one man and one woman.

"The risk is the judiciary at some time in the future would say that the law isn't valid, as was recently done in Iowa, where they now have same sex marriages even though the state law prevented it,"  32nd District Representative P. Eric Turner said.

Opponents said the idea of banning two people from getting married regardless of sex, is immoral and misguided.

"It's state sanctioned discrimination. Two straight people can go to Vegas, be intoxicated and be married by an Elvis impersonator and what we're saying in Indiana is that two people in a committed relationship that care for each other can't achieve that status.  I really have a hard time understanding that,"  Unitarian Minister Andy Burnette said.

Patrick Roth is a stay-at-home dad, raising a 12-year old girl.  He and his husband were married in Vancouver because they do so couldn't here.

"We have to lie when we file our federal taxes and state taxes and claim we are two completely separate individuals when we are legally married in Canada and I would assume in any state in America where same sex marriage is considered legal," Roth said.   

U.S. Constitutional law may make the whole debate moot. That’s according to IUPUI Visiting Professor of Law Fran Quigley.

"A District Court Judge has determined that there is a fundamental right to marry under the Federal Constitution and Equal Protection clause of the Federal Constitution means that discriminating against persons of same sex who want to be married is not allowable because we do allow persons of opposite sex to be married and there's no rational reason for that distinction,” Quigley said.

The key phrase there is "fundamental right" and there are only a few of them that are recognized in constitutional law.  Marriage, the right to due process and the right to vote are three of them.

The court case banning gay marriage that's under appeal stems from Prop 18. That passed in California in 2008.

If the U.S. Supreme Court determines gay marriage bans to be unconstitutional, though, that would trump any state laws banning it including Indiana's.