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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "In Diluting Measure to Ban Gay Marriage, Indiana Shows a Shift"

The story by Monica Davey is on p. A13 of my NY Times this morning. It includes a color photo. Some quotes:

It was a choice expected to come and go with little debate. Indiana, a conservative state controlled by Republicans, wanted to do what plenty of other states did long ago: add an amendment to its Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The notion had sped through Indiana’s legislature a few years ago, the first of two required votes.

In Indianapolis, lawmakers on Monday again pushed forward a constitutional amendment, but, in a sign of the rapidly shifting political dynamics over same-sex marriage around the nation, the process turned unexpectedly rocky. In the end, the measure was changed, removing language some supporters considered essential, almost certainly delaying a statewide vote on the matter for at least two years, and leaving the fate of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana uncertain. Amendment opponents declared success. * * *

In states like Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, federal judges have struck down laws banning gay couples from marrying, seemingly pressing the question ever closer to the Supreme Court. And in states controlled by Democrats, like Illinois and Minnesota, lawmakers have legalized same-sex marriage. But Indiana offers a look at a different side of the nation’s shifting landscape — a glimpse at a growing struggle for Republican politicians over how to satisfy a conservative base that now finds itself at odds with some business leaders and a changing electorate.

“You start to get the feeling a lot of people in the legislature just don’t want to deal with this again — don’t have the appetite,” said Megan Robertson, campaign manager for Freedom Indiana, an anti-amendment group supported by business interests like Eli Lilly and Company and Cummins. “We wanted to defeat this thing outright of course, but getting it pushed down the road is a huge victory.” * * *

“With the way things are changing, with all the court cases, one after another, there’s a good chance that we never even reach 2016 without the Supreme Court having weighed in on this issue,” said Sarah Warbelow, the state legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group.

Advocates of the amendment said they were surprised by what had transpired in Indiana. “The decision to dilute and delay the marriage amendment and deprive voters of the chance to consider it this year is very disappointing,” said Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute, which pushed for the amendment. “I expected it to go forward,” he added, “and I expected to have a vote this year.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 18, 2014 09:11 AM
Posted to Indiana Government