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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ind. Law - "Hoosier lawmakers may, or may not, vote on gay marriage ban"

Lesley Weidenbener, managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com (a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students) and a longtime Statehouse reporter, draws upon her memory of past legislative sessions to unpack and then critique Speaker Brian Bosma's attitude this year on the question of legislative consideration of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Her long column today in the Louisville Courier Journal begins:

INDIANAPOLIS — Republican leaders at the Indiana General Assembly seem at a loss as they decide how to proceed with a proposed constitutional ban to limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman — and restrict how lawmakers can grant rights to same-sex couples.

In fact, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, seems just annoyed — maybe even angry — when reporters ask about the issue.

Last week, he refused during a press conference about workforce proposals to answer a question about whether the marriage amendment would get a hearing or vote in committee. He said he’d talk about marriage later.

After the press conference was over, he said he hadn’t decided yet whether the proposal would get a vote.

And then he added: “Anybody have a real question, an important question?”

Yikes. It was a startling answer for a man who nine years ago called the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage “the most critical piece of the people’s business.” And more importantly, it was a slap to the thousands of Hoosiers for whom this issue is important — either because they believe marriage equality is essentially a civil rights issue or they oppose it as immoral.

Bosma’s indecision about the issue is certainly understandable. But his frustration with others’ interest in the issue is not.

Back when the marriage amendment was a key part of the House GOP agenda and Republicans were in the minority, Bosma led his party on a walk-out in the House after then-Democratic Speaker Pat Bauer of South Bend refused to allow a vote on the proposal.

Then two years ago, Republicans — who had won the majority — started the state’s long process for amending the state’s constitution. They need to approve the marriage amendment again this year or next to send it to the ballot for ratification by voters.

But along the way, attitudes about same sex couples and their legal status have been changing.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 27, 2013 03:58 PM
Posted to Indiana Law