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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Gay marriage vote moves on to full House: Passes panel on party-line vote"

There are a number of stories this morning on yesterday's lengthy House Elections Committee public hearing and vote on SJR 3.

Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette writes:

Nine Republicans moved a proposed constitutional gay marriage ban out of committee Wednesday night – setting up a much-anticipated full House vote on the measure next week.

All three Democrats on the House Elections Committee voted no, including Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne.

Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, voted yes but said he is reserving his right to vote against the measure later if a contentious second sentence isn’t removed.

The initial passage came after a political maneuver by House Speaker Brian Bosma to shift it to the elections panel, which saved the proposal from defeat.

It was originally heard in the Judiciary Committee last week but stalled when leaders realized several Republicans might vote no.

The legislature first approved the proposed amendment in 2011. If it passes this year, then voters would get final say on the November ballot.

The FWJG also has a lengthy editorial today titled "Speaker’s power play." A sample:
What does it say about a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution – the state’s most important document – that it requires special handling to accommodate its passage? Shouldn’t a measure that takes the unprecedented step of depriving certain Hoosiers of their rights with constitutional language advance with the overwhelming support of the legislature?

More important, should any measure that deprives a group of its rights be subject to a vote of citizens? Under that approach, a state with more Democrats than Republicans could vote to ban the GOP, or vice-versa; whites, theoretically, could vote to re-enslave blacks. Our system of government is specifically designed to protect the minority from the rule of the majority. Bosma and his allies don’t seem to get that.

"House committee advances Indiana gay marriage ban" is the headline to Tom LoBianco's story for AP, here as printed in the Gary Post Tribune. Here is Dan Carden's story in the NWI Times.

Barb Berggoetz and Tony Cook have this front-page story in the Indianapolis Star. Som quotes:

After two hearings, eight hours of testimony and a controversial committee switch, a proposed same-sex marriage ban is headed to the Indiana House floor as early as Monday.

All nine Republicans on the House Elections Committee voted in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday night, while three Democrats were against the move.

During the packed 41/2-hour hearing, young Republicans implored their older party members to send a message of tolerance to the next generation. Gay and lesbian Hoosiers spoke about leaving the state if the amendment passes. A woman with cancer expressed fears that she and her partner won't have the same rights as straight, married couples when facing end-of-life decisions.

Despite the personal appeals and testimony from business and university leaders, Republicans were not persuaded to back off the amendment, which has caused some fissures within their party. After the testimony, Republicans voted with few comments.

"Marriage is between a man and a woman, and I believe the people of Indiana are demanding a right to vote on the amendment," said committee member Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola.

Democrats who voted against the bill said they feared a divisive campaign if the measure goes to the November ballot and millions of dollars in legal fees if the measure passes.

"When my grandchildren have to watch the ads that are going to be on television," said Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, "are you going to be proud? Are we as a body going to be proud of that?"

See also Star writer Matthew Tully's column from earlier this week, headed "Gay marriage debate’s biggest problem? It’s just plain wrong," and writer Erika Smith's column, "Get mad, stay mad over Bosma decision on gay marriage ban."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 23, 2014 09:28 AM
Posted to Indiana Government