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Gay marriage opponents push ahead with ban

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal to write Indiana’s gay marriage ban into the state constitution may be on hold as Republican leaders ponder its fate this year, but the House and Senate sponsors are charging ahead anyway.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, said he plans to introduce the measure in the House this year. And Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, has already filed the proposal in the Senate.

The General Assembly already overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment once in 2011. It would have to sign off on it again, this year or in 2014, and then send the proposal to voters for final approval.

“We do have some flexibility between this year and next. We recognize that,” Turner said. “But frankly, some of us would like to put it behind us and let the public weigh in.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to take up a pair of cases dealing with gay marriage and employee benefits for same-sex couples has led Republican leaders in both chambers to hold back on making any plans this year.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, a Fort Wayne Republican, said he is waiting for his staff to review any impact from the Supreme Court before deciding whether to move on the issue this year. “There’s no definitive decision on that as of yet,” he said Tuesday.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican, pointed out Monday he did not include the ban in a legislative agenda released by House Republicans, but he has also refused to slam the door shut on the issue.

“Why is everybody focusing on this issue?” Bosma asked Monday, the opening day of the 2013 session. “We’re here to talk about jobs, the budget, and workforce development and education. I’m sure some of these issues will be discussed, but it certainly wasn’t part of our agenda and it wasn’t part of the discussion on our part today either.”

Turner, a top-ranking Republican in the House, said he understands Long and Bosma will have to work out a timetable, but said he is confident in the support for the ban in the Assembly.

Democrats opened the 2013 session with an effort to place gay marriage and other social issues on hold. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, a Michigan City Democrat, asked Republicans, who outnumber Democrats 69-31 in the House, to place a two-year moratorium on social issues. But Bosma rejected that request Monday.

 

Posted 1/10/2013