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GOP leaders say gay marriage ban not priority

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The Republican leaders of Indiana's General Assembly said Thursday they have not decided whether to take up a constitutional ban on gay marriage, one day after a pair of House lawmakers filed separate proposals to place the ban before voters in 2014.

House Speaker Brian Bosma said he was not focused on the issue right now, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long hasn't brought up the issue with the other 36 members of his caucus.

"All we've done is assigned it to committee as required. Our focus is on career development, as we talked about here today," Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Thursday after talking at the Statehouse about his plan to improve job training in the state. "I'm not talking about (a gay marriage ban) today."

Long, R-Fort Wayne, said he expects to have an answer from members of his caucus before the session's midpoint — at the end of February — on whether they want to take up the gay marriage ban issue.

The issue has hung over the 2013 session as Republicans strategize over whether to debate on it this year or next.

Gay marriage ban proposals by Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, and Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, were delivered Wednesday. The separate resolutions were included in the final round of House proposals ahead of a key legislative deadline.

The General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the constitutional ban in 2011, but must approve it one more time before the end of next year in order to amend it into the state's constitution. If approved a second time, it would be placed on the ballot for a final decision by the voters in 2014.

The ban was sent to the House Judiciary Committee, but its fate is still unclear as top Republicans try to keep the focus on jobs and education measures.

Some of Bosma and Long's hesitation to address the ban stems from the Supreme Court's decision to take a pair of cases related to the issue, one which could make the battle moot in Indiana. Long has asked his staff to compile a legal review to determine what impact a high court ruling could have on the state.

Legislative Democrats, who are vastly outnumbered in both chambers, have asked Republicans to avoid the debate altogether so the focus can stay on fiscal issues. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, asked Bosma at the start of the session to place a two-year moratorium on debating social issues like gay marriage. But Bosma declined, saying "social issue" is a highly subjective term.

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  • Not Confident
    If there is one thing i have learned about Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly, it is that advocating for and celebrating discrimination is always a part of their political game. While other states are busy passing laws to protect the rights of LGBT folks, Indiana lawmakers are 5-10 years behind the learning curve and pursuing misguided and outdated agendas. The pursuit of a marriage discrimination amendment in Indiana is not only a waste of time and resources, but it is just plain wrong.
  • No discrimination in State Constituion
    As a GOP precinct committeeman I am dismayed that some believe that discrimination should be made a part of our state's constitution.
  • I agree
    I vote for Republicans most of the time for economic issues and to offset the left wing extremists. However, I do not think the gay marriage ban has anything to do with what we need to worry about these days. Jobs and education are far more important. The Republicans never do themselves a favor by coddling the anti-gay crowd, most of whom are the wild-eyed, snake-handling evangelicals who pray to God on Sunday and cheat on their spouses the rest of the week.
  • Real issues, please
    Education. Poverty. Public transit. Can we please address the real issues Indiana needs to address?
  • Don't Worry
    1) Don't worry. The Republicans only pull out social conservatism -abortion & gay marriage - every 2 or 4 years during election season. Then they forget about it. 2) I bet you have no problem with forcing values down other people's throats when it comes to your values, e.g., forcing the acceptance of gay life style, etc.. 2) Different on economic policy? Really? Republican just tax and spend not on entitlement programs for the poor but for the rich. I get tired of being taxed to pay for stadiums for the Simons and the Irsays. I get tired of being taxed so we can give out contracts to cronies to build light rail systems and parking garages, etc.
  • Agreed, butt out.
    I fully agree with Keela. I have voted Republican for economic conservatism not social agenda conservatism. My wife and I are about to change the direction of our vote.
  • Butt out
    I vote mostly Republican for their more rational economic policies.. If they insist with their attempts to dictate how we should live our personal lives, eg, forced religion in schools in the guise of creationism, gay marriage, abortion rights, I will be a part of National trend to abandon them in favor of the Dems.

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