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Bosma moves marriage bill to elections committee

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Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma moved House Joint Resolution 3, the constitutional amendment to define marriage, to another committee Tuesday in an effort to get the controversial proposal to the full House for a vote.

Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he heard over the weekend from a majority of the members of the Republican caucus who said they wanted a chance to vote on the amendment, which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“This seemed like the best way to do it,” Bosma said. He called it the “least intrusive, most respectful of the process.”

But House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City disagreed.

“I see a speaker with a lot of difficulties,” Pelath said. “It’s not unprecedented, but it is very unusual for something of such public magnitude. I think it’s a demonstration that there is a lot of division in the Republican Party.”

Bosma moved the amendment from the Judiciary Committee, where it had a three-hour hearing last week, to the Elections Committee, which has scheduled a hearing on the measure for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The speaker said Judiciary Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, told him he wasn’t confident the amendment could pass the committee.

Bosma said Elections Committee Chairman Milo Smith, R-Columbus, had been lobbying to have it in his committee.

Smith said he plans to take one-hour of testimony per side Wednesday. Smith said he hopes to have the committee vote on the proposal Wednesday, which would send the proposal to the full House. If it passes the General Assembly this year, it will go to the ballot for ratification by voters.

“I’ve said all along that it’s about the people voting on it,” Smith said. “We’re just debating this and it’s never going to get settled.”

New Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, is a member of the House Elections Committee but didn’t say Tuesday how she’d vote on the amendment.

“I am keeping an open mind and listening to all of the testimony,” she said. “I am faithfully looking plainly for constituent formulas, polls and survey results.”

Rep. Ed Soliday, a Valparaiso Republican who also serves on the committee, said polls show people on both sides of the issue want a chance to vote, as well as those on the House floor. He said he would vote for the amendment.

“Letting two or three people decide an issue this big that’s fully vetted, where does that get us?” Soliday said. “Ultimately, rights arise from the people, we the people, and somebody has to vote. The issue is it’s so overwhelming with people saying ‘give me my say’ that I don’t see how you can tell them no.”

But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, expressed concern about those who have already testified before the House Judiciary Committee and now have to take additional leave from work to testify again.

“Instead of letting hours of testimony and the democratic process play out, the speaker of the House has decided to start the clock over,” Lanane said. “Sometimes the legislative process does not garner the expected result, but that does not mean one gets to change the rules in the middle of the game. This kind of legislative maneuvering has no place here.”

Megan Robertson, campaign manager for Freedom Indiana, a group fighting the amendment, shared Lanane’s disapproval. Robertson said that while she believed most legislators serving on the House Judiciary Committee sought to represent their constituents, she thought Bosma “broke his commitment to Hoosiers to uphold the traditional legislative process.”

“Speaker Bosma repeatedly promised to treat this issue like any other bill,” Robertson said. “We are proud of the way we have conducted ourselves and disappointed that Speaker Bosma did not live up to his word.”

Bosma said he wasn’t sure the bill would pass the Elections Committee but it had a “likelihood of making it to the floor with this route.”

Pelath said he thought there were more important economic problems to consider this session than HJR3, which only divided institutions and citizens.

“The speaker already said publicly that he wants it on the floor of the house so I’m presuming he would not put it in a committee that wasn’t going to send it on to the full house floor,” Pelath said. “Then again, he probably thought he had that committee the first time around. But looking at the membership of the elections committee I see a lot of social conservatives on there that I think are going to be enthused about dragging the voters through this exercise.”

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  • Citizens should be able to vote on some things, not others?
    Is this the same legislative body that refuses to pass a mass transit bill allowing we the citizens to vote on whether we want to raise our own taxes in order to have access to public transit? If you won't let us vote on mass transit, why is it now so important for us to vote on this issue?
  • Rick
    American history is, unfortunately, full of heinous things that men like you thought "seemed fair." Fortunately, people like the rest of us were around to finally bring those heinous things to an end.
  • Wrong again Rick, but you are consistent
    Rick...who in the world taught you history?...you should go punch them in the face. We have never been a democracy, ever, and you do not live in a country where as you put it, "majority rules"...as Mr. Franklin put it, "we have given you a republic, if you can keep it." A lynch mob is democracy in action...democracy is 5 wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner...if you are the sheep Rick, you are wishing you lived in a republic...do you believe in innocent until proven guilty? That a person deserves their day in court, judged by a jury of their peers? If so, you believe in a nation of laws and not the whims of a mob or majority. Our Founding Fathers were not fans of democracy...you will be looking a long time trying to find the word democracy anywhere in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution to back up your assertion of "majority rules"...the constitution actually guarantees every State in the Union a "republican" form of government. Madison (Father of the Constitution) once said "democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths". If you want to live in a democracy, where you can side up with some like minded folks and push your narrow-minded views down everyone's throat go ahead and find one. "Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly"...Isaac Azimov...I agree with him...kudos to Micah on the illustration of democracy in action by the way...
  • Seriously?
    So majority rules, eh? Does that mean that if the majority wants to, say, deny voting rights to Presbyterians or force people of Latvian descent to wear tutus, they can do it? I think not. On many matters the majority does indeed carry the day, but not when it comes to individual rights. You can't just hold a vote to decide how much freedom a certain group will be allowed. As the constitution says, there are certain inalienable rights that reside with the people, and can never be lawfully abridged.
  • Bosma
    If Brian Bosma put 1% the effort in the state's business as he has in this ridiculous exercise in fear, loathing and low-information voter turnout... aw, scratch that. I don't even want to think what that guy's vision of hoosier-utopia would be. Ew.
  • Majority Rule is a heck of a thing...
    Rick, I too favor majority rule. To that end, I am proposing the Rick Unemployment Amendment, which mandates that you never be allowed to seek employment. Assuming I could get enough votes for the amendment to pass, I'm sure you would be perfectly okay with your rights being abridged by the will of the majority, correct?
  • Do You See The Light?
    Ah, I seen now. The newly assigned Elections and Appointments Committee is made up of 13 members, 8 of whom voted for the amendment in 2011. The bill would need at least six votes either way. Sneaky, sneaky, Mister Bosma!
  • Let the voters decide
    I am not sure what all the fuss is about. We live in a society that the majority rules. If the issue get out of the hands of the reps and senators then the real people of Indiana would get an opportunity to vote on the amendment. Seems fair to me.
    • Shouldn't be surprised
      Brian Bosma's actions shouldn't surprise anyone in this state. Our state legislature is and has been a joke for as long as I can remember. What I can't figure out is with the lack of any real reforming legislation coming out of this body for years and years, why we keep re-electing the same idiots year after year? I, as a gay man in a 14 year relationship with my partner, can now only hope that a) this legislation dies in committee (probably a pipe dream now) or b) that maybe this state as a whole is not as conservative and backwards as I fear and once it hits the voters in November, maybe, just maybe this state will prove me wrong and actually show some backbone and not approve such trash. Utah, one of the most (perceived anyway) conservative states now allows gay marriage. Please please tell me we are far more forward thinking state than our legislature is demonstrating.
    • Ross Barnett
      I was going to compare our distinguished legislators to the late George C. Wallace, but at least Wallace repented of his bigotry later in life and got back on the right side of history. We'll see if any of this crop of latter-day civil rights champions eventually do as well. In any case, the names of those who vote for this travesty are going down in the ledger of injustice.
    • Backward we go
      All this government cares about it guns and the bible. Next will be a move to declare the World flat and reinstitute segregation.
    • From The State That Brought You The NRA Convention.
      I don't know when, in the last 11 years of living here, I've been more embarrassed to be associated with this bovine and clueless state. Thanks, Mr. Speaker, for reinforcing why Indiana is though of in the same categories as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. On one hand you try to foist a Super Bowl down our throats so people think we're for real and on the other hand, we're hosting the NRA convention and trying to pass off theistic dogma and mythology based morality as law.
    • dictatorship
      Sorry Rick, you are absolutely incorrect in your assertions. The US Constitution (and Indiana State Constitution) was developed and approved with the original Amendments to actually protect the rights and freedoms of the Minority against the excesses of the majority. The Framers of the Constitution were absolutely aware of the excesses of tyranny and of the majority to deprive the minority of their rights and freedoms and therefore crafted a document that addressed that inequality.
    • Marriage Amendment
      Dear Mr. Bosma: Once again I write you to express my dismay at your attempts to force the issue of the passage of the discriminatory Anti- same sex marriage amendment on to the floor of the legislature by threatening to replace committee members who disagree with your narrow religious views. Your threats to do this are repugnant and totally out of line with the democratic processes upon which this country and state were founded. I do not know if you have ever been discriminated against because of your race, religion or ethnic background. I would presume that you have never experienced such discrimination. Well, I have, not because of my race, but because of my religion. You see, I am a member of the Jewish faith, and for most of my life (now age 70) I have had to deal with religious bigotry and discrimination from basically, your religion. In 6th grade when a "friend" discovered that I was Jewish, he proceeded to lambast me in front of others by calling me "a christ killer". All through my schooling I was literally forced to sit through christmas and easter assemblies, the latter which again comdemned my religion for the supposed death of jesus. Both in college and the military I was on the receiving end of christian discrimination. Growing up, the christians built "restricted" housing developments...restricted meaning NO JEWS! My family could not join country clubs because they too were for christians only (again using the word "restricted"). I still see today the evidences of christian bigotry and discrimination against me for my religion. Your support for this amendment is not logical, since the only reasons for its introduction and support are solely based upon RELIGIOUS (mainly christian) reasons, which have absolutely NO basis in the enactment of laws in this country and state. I believe your stance on this issue is one of bigotry and religious bias which has NO place in the establishment of laws regarding the freedoms of citizens. And that is the only reasoning that is behind this proposed Amendment. I will remind you, Mr. Bosma, of the 1967 Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia that overturned the Anti-miscegenation laws in many states in this nation; laws that relied upon the same pseudo religious ideology that is driving this misguided anti-marriage Amendment in the Indiana legislature. The views of those states were, in essence, that "god" created different races and therefore the intermingling of races was against "god's" law that "he" did not intend for races to mix, and would result in adversity to "traditional" marriage. This is the same misguided reasoning that you and others of your ilk are using in this attempt to deprive citizens of their rights. The bible is NOT a legal document and therefore has no stance in the promotion and instigation of laws in this country. You and others of your ilk are trying to impose your own religious philosophy upon the citizens of this state without acknowledging that a large number of citizens DO NOT subscribe to your brand of religion or its philosophy. Again the imposition of religion in lawmaking is against the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, especially the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Imposition of religion upon others especially in a discriminatory manner is repugnant, and making laws based upon this type of religious imposition is even more so. You and others in the legislature first need to walk a mile in the shoes of those you desire to disenfranchise before you pass a law that discriminates as does this amendment. You also need to be reminded that the US Constitution was forged (and I assume the same for the Indiana State Constitution)to protect the minority against the persecution of the majority. Well those in the LGBT community are the minority, but they are entitled to, and should be, those same freedoms that you enjoy. Again I remind you of LOVING v VIRGINIA. I look forward to your reply.
    • No Chance
      There is no chance "a majority of Hoosiers" asked their Representative". With over 6 million citizens in this state, that would mean at least 3 million asked their Rep. No chance that happened. Perhaps a majority will vote for the amendment or perhaps "of those who contacted their Rep", the majority reported a desire to vote. But, there is no chance "the majority of Hoosiers" or 3,000,000 Indiana Citizens picked up the phone and called their Rep, asking to put this on the ballot.
    • Rick you are so wrong
      Rick, What makes our country great is we all have rights, not just the majority. Take the issue out and replace with anything you want. The majority can pick the leaders but they cannot trample on the minority. We may be on opposite sides on this issue but we both have the right to state our views. We cannot vote this right away. As for a vocal minority I think you need to look in a mirror. Bosma can move the amendemnt to a different committee and comissioner phony poll results all he wants, he cannot and you cannot deny that times are changing. You will lose whether it is in committee, the ballot box or the courtroom you will lose my friend you will lose
    • Actually, this is about civil rights
      This is actual a civil rights issue, and at the end of the day, civil rights shouldn't be up for a vote. However, if people do want to push a vote forward, let them, because if they do enshrine an amendment in the state constitution, it will eventual get the same treatment California's constitutional amendment did--i.e. it will be invalidated by a court. This is a waste of our scarce public resources pushing a matter that is really shouldn't be pushed. If you don't approve of same-sex marriage, then don't enter into one and let others who do get their state license, problem solved. Now, let's focus on job creation and the real important issues facing the state.
    • Hopeless
      I give up. If this bill becomes an amendment to the constitution, Indiana is hopeless.
    • dictator
      edit: *trampled on by a MINORITY*
      • Dictatorship
        Actually, a dictatorship is about the rights of a very small minority - the Dictator. Although its an admittedly contrarian thought on this website, the majority has the right to exercise its will and not be trampled on by a majority. Democracy will only be served by allowing this bill to reach the voters.
        • Democracy
          Dictatorships are about the rights of the majority. Democracy is about the rights of the minority This bill has no place in a democracy.
        • something to lose?
          The elections committee makes the most sense. It probably should have started out there - I questioned why it was ever sent to Judiciary to begin with. It is a referendum/voting issue. Bosma moved the bill, because a MAJORITY of Hoosier citizens asked their representatives to make sure that the bill gets to the floor. I applaud Bosma for taking a stand to ensure that all Hoosier voices are heard and not just the vitriol of a small, vocal minority.
          • POX
            Bosma is a pox on the human race. Take that back, we humans don't claim him.
          • Contact These Representatives
            Contact These Representatives to let them know how YOU wish to be represented. And if there is going to be costs associated with this issue (advertising, lawsuits, etc), it should come from their private funds and NOT taxpayers! Members of the 2014 Indiana House Elections and Apportionment Committee: Republicans: Republican chair Milo Smith; Republican vice chair Kathy Richardson; Republicans Woody Burton, Casey Cox, Richard Hamm, Edmond Soliday, Holli Sullivan, Jeffrey Thompson and Timothy Wesco Democrats: John Bartlett, Kreg Battles, Philip GiaQuinta and Terry Goodin.
          • BS
            Wow. What a liar. If there was ANY credibility in the Republican House they would demand his regisnation
          • Wow
            This is complete horse crap. It should have been in Judiciary committee. It was held up because they know it will get overturned it court. What a petty move on his part. What little respect I had for him has now just been completely vaporized.
          • Bosma
            Brian Bosma, you are a disgusting human being.

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