(AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Pence said Friday he would like lawmakers to
restore language blocking civil unions in the proposed constitutional
amendment to ban gay marriage in Indiana, a move that would place the
issue on track to get on the November ballot.
banned civil unions was removed by the House earlier this week, after a
group of Republicans joined Democrats to support the move. That
phrasing, which became known as "second sentence," was a sticking point
for many Republicans who otherwise supported banning gay marriage. The
proposal is now in the Indiana Senate.
would not need Pence's approval before going before votes on the
November ballot if it's approved by lawmakers before the end of the
legislative session in March. But during his State of the State address
earlier this month, he asked lawmakers to approve the amendment as it
was first proposed last year to ban both the gay marriage and civil
"Let me say I
support traditional marriage, and I expressed support for the resolution
that the Legislature passed during the last session and considered at
the outset of this session," Pence told WISH-TV on Friday.
He also told
the television station that he would not comment again on the issue
until the Legislature completes its work in March.
comments marked the first time he had spoken about Monday's vote, which
could push the proposed amendment to the November 2016 ballot. Under
state law, lawmakers must approve the same measure they approved in 2011
in order for it to appear on the ballot this November. Removing the
civil unions language would reset the clock on Indiana's constitutional
has kept the issue at arm's length throughout the debate. Constitutional
amendments do not cross the governor's desk for approval, but Pence
still controls the bully pulpit as the state's chief executive.
staffers also have attempted to shield him from talking about the
volatile issue. A spokeswoman opened a news conference Wednesday saying
that Pence would not answer questions on anything other than the state's
propane shortage. The governor later darted from the news conference
while a staffer cut in front of a reporter trying to reaching him.
said he would address the issue "later" because he was "late for what
I'm late for right now." A spokeswoman said she would not divulge the
pressing event that caused Pence to bolt from the room.
President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, announced Thursday that the
Senate would likely take up the measure the week of Feb. 10. Long has
been mum on whether he supports reinserting the civil unions ban, but
said he would like to see any effort to restore that part of the measure
play out in front of the entire Senate, instead of in a committee.