The mayor of a city in the US state of Indiana has conducted a symbolic wedding for over a dozen gay and lesbian couples in protest to a proposed ban on civil unions and equal marriage.

Mark Kruzan, mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, conduced the ceremony, which 13 couples took part in, as an opening to a local LGBT festival.

At the ceremony, Mayor Kruzan said: “By the power not yet invested in me by the state of Indiana, I pronounce you partners in life.”

Following the ceremony, ten Monroe County Council and Bloomington City Council members threw flowers onto the couples.

Back in 2011, the Indiana Senate approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions by 40 votes to 10. The public gallery had to be cleared after gay rights protesters shouted at politicians.

A month prior to that, the Republican controlled House of Representatives approved the measure with a vote of 70 to 26.

The measure would need to be approved again, and pass a referendum in order to be written into law.

The US Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear two days of arguments relating to equal marriage at the end of March.