IBJNews

Marriage vote fallout limited to few Indiana races

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Although the fight over Indiana's gay marriage ban hasn't become the pivotal campaign issue some supporters predicted, a handful of Republican legislators are facing tough primary battles from challengers who blame them for delaying a constitutional amendment that would solidify the law.

Supporters of the state's ban on same-sex weddings urged lawmakers to place it before voters for consideration this November. But the General Assembly delayed enactment of the constitutional amendment until at least 2016 when changes were made to the legislation, a surprising blow for supporters.

Now those supporters, largely religious conservatives, have targeted a trio of northeast Indiana Republicans who helped reset the clock on the ban. With no statewide races on the ballot and few congressional contests expected to be close, the handful of legislative contests that focused on gay marriage were expected to be the most divisive heading into Tuesday's primary.

Opponents of Rep. Kathy Heuer, R-Columbia City, and Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, have used their votes in advertisements and letters to local newspapers to attract conservative supporters. Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, has drawn a strong challenge from technology company owner Curt Nisly.

Indiana tea party leader Monica Boyer said conservative anger with Kubacki had been building for years, but reached a head with her vote keeping the marriage ban from the 2014 ballot.

"Those kinds of things have built up ... and then the marriage issue just completely blew it open," Boyer said. "She was going to be primaried anyway, but the fire and the passion over 'You took away our right to vote' (on gay marriage) has really been the switch."

The rural stretch of Indiana between Fort Wayne and South Bend, an area hit hard by the recession and the decline of the RV manufacturing, is home to some of the state's most socially conservative voters. It's also home to some of the most active tea partyers.

But outside that area, the marriage fight appears to be having little impact — at least in terms of influencing elections.

Troy Montigney, a Republican operative who fought the marriage ban during the session with the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, said gay marriage has been a "non-issue" in the contested races in central Indiana. All 100 House members and half of the Senate are on the ballot.

"Statewide, three legislators are facing any level of noticeable criticism over their votes, and I would argue it's only playing an outsize role in one district," Montigney said.

He said supporters of the marriage amendment have had a harder time this cycle using it as an issue than they would have 10 years ago.

It's a far cry from earlier this year, when concerns about ballot-box consequences spurred a Republican donor to prod House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, to drop the issue from consideration.

Bosma announced during the session that he had been offered "unlimited" campaign funds to make the issue "go away." Former Republican Party Chairman Jim Kittle later told The Associated Press that he had offered to support any Republicans who faced election challenges because of how they voted but said Bosma misconstrued his offer.

Indiana requires constitutional amendments to pass two consecutive legislative sessions. Lawmakers passed the gay marriage amendment in 2011 and again this year, but they stripped out a key clause. The language change forced the measure back to square one.

Parvin Gillim, a 52-year-old architect from Sheridan, thinks there's little interest left in amending the constitution. And even though he's challenging the proposal's lead author, House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, for the seat representing a stretch of central Indiana from Westfield to Marion, he isn't raising the issue.

"I haven't asked people about it, people haven't really asked me about it as well. I think right now people aren't talking about it because they don't think it is something worthy of consideration," Gillim said.

Gillim said most voters in this rural district are interested in issues stemming from advancements in agricultural technology.

Regardless of the primary outcomes, Republicans are expected to retain a strong grip on the Statehouse.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT