Gay-marriage ban off ballot at least until 2016

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Opponents of an effort to place Indiana's gay marriage ban in the state constitution won a surprising victory Thursday as the Senate effectively pushed off a statewide vote on the issue for at least two years, and possibly longer.

In a parliamentary move that spared state senators a tough vote on the measure, the Senate advanced the marriage ban without the "second sentence" ban on civil unions. The House stripped that language from the amendment before passing it last month, and the Senate's decision not to restore the language before voting Thursday means the effort to amend the constitution must start fresh.

Even if Indiana's marriage ban clears the Senate on a final vote Monday, it would have to be debated again in the next biennial session, 2015-16, before it could appear before voters.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said many lawmakers sensed that the final say on the issue ultimately will be made by the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal court ruling this week that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states was weighed in private discussions among Senate Republicans, and Long said he could sense momentum building for a high court ruling.

"In reality, I think the issue is going to be before the United States Supreme Court — as I've said before — and it's either going to be a state's rights issue and each state decides for itself or it's going to be decided by the Supreme Court that it's a violation of the 14th Amendment," Long said. "One way or another they're going to have the final say in this because the U.S. Constitution trumps a state constitution."

Indiana's gay marriage battle was playing out as federal courts in Oklahoma and Utah overturned constitutional bans and New Mexico's high court overturned that state's marriage ban.

The state Senate's decision caps a sharp turnabout in Indiana, where just three years ago the constitutional ban passed the General Assembly with overwhelming majorities. But national attitudes on gay marriage have shifted sharply, and opponents of the ban were able to build a strong coalition that lobbied Indiana lawmakers heavily — privately and in public.

Indiana's gay marriage battle also opened a rift among Republicans in the solidly conservative state. Pro-business conservatives, including many who had worked closely with former Gov. Mitch Daniels, largely lined up against the marriage ban. While social conservatives, mostly aligned with Republican Gov. Mike Pence, fought hard to shepherd the ban to the 2014 ballot.

Some of the Republican Party's strongest fundraisers, including former George W. Bush economic adviser Al Hubbard and former Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jim Kittle, opened their wallets for Freedom Indiana, the umbrella organization opposing the marriage ban.

"Six months ago, if you'd said lawmakers would refuse to put this issue on the ballot in 2014 by stripping out the deeply flawed second sentence, I'd have said there's no way," said Megan Robertson, Freedom Indiana campaign manager and a veteran Indiana Republican operative.

The author of a proposal that would have restored the civil unions ban and place the constitutional ban back on track for a November referendum bemoaned the fact that he could not find enough support among Republican senators.

The ban's "second sentence is officially dead in the 2014 IGA. Not enough support to reinsert it on 2nd reading," Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, wrote on Twitter. Long later chided Delph for discussing a private meeting of the Indiana Republicans.

When the constitutional ban came up for consideration Thursday, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann — who presides over the Senate — asked lawmakers if they had any amendments. The Senate chamber was silent, as were hundreds of activists just outside the Senate who had been chanting and singing just minutes earlier.

Ellspermann then acknowledged she had heard no amendments to the measure, and declared it ready for a final vote later in the Senate. Thursday was the last day lawmakers could have altered the measure and put it back on track for a November vote.

Delph later said he did not seek a vote on restoring the "second sentence" civil unions ban because he knew it would fail.

Supporters of the ban say it is needed to prevent courts from overturning Indiana's law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. But they struggled to find their footing after House lawmakers stripped the civil unions language.

Pence lobbied for a November vote on the ban in his State of the State address and at a rally of ban supporters, but later said he was removing himself from the legislative debate.


  • Kevin
    Your concern about threats to freedom of speech and religious freedom has nothing to do with my argument that the GOP should not be pursuing this ban, which seeks to add discrimination to our state constitution. The ban does not appeal to my principles of small, limited government and individual freedom and self determination. If it were up to me, Kevin, government would have no business in marriage in the first place. My rule would be: allow civil unions for all and give faith leaders the authority to determine who they will and will not marry without threat of government retaliation. A true freedom agenda the GOP should be pursuing! I agree with your assessment that free speech is under attack in this country. I'm very aware of political correctness mobs harassing, and sometimes ruining, those who do not agree with them or who violate their PC speech codes, whether it be accidental or not. (i.e. Paula Dean, Chick-Fil-A, Sarah Palin) However I think it's unfair to call it a homosexual agenda, which I don't believe exists. I believe it's a broader spectrum of angry, miserable people who can only live as victims. Most gays (I am one, btw) do not live this way. We are pretty happy, well-adjusted people who had to learn to develop a pretty thick skin and good sense of humor over the years. I deplore political correctness and the mob mentality that accompanies it. For what it's worth, that's my response to you.
  • Meanwhile
    The Right's hero Mike Delph is on a drunken Twitter rant with choice comments like "Where's Torquemada when you need him?" and various threats of a "good old-fashioned beat down." So, please, Rick et all, tell us again about how this amendment was purely about religious freedom. A PS to history-challenged folks like Esteban, Google "Inquisition."
  • Jim
  • Delph and those like him
    Do the haters not understand that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A RELIGION TO GET MARRIED!!!! I’m happy to change the whole marriage thing around if they say “everyone gets a civil marriage, and if you want, you can solemnize it by your church, but there is no legal effect with that.” PLUS, let's outlaw divorce. They can’t have it both ways.
  • Nicely said American
    Rick, I gotta hand it to you...you are relentless. I disagree with you, but you certainly are entitled to espouse your fantastical conspiracy theory about the Great Gay Agenda...as for Esteban, his grasp of history and mistaken assumption that our laws and historical documents are based in Christian morality simply is not based in fact...as I have cited here before the many quotes of Jefferson and Madison regarding their status as Deists rather than Christians (a view also held by Adams, Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, and many many others of the time), and citing on many occasions their contempt for those who would use Christianity and the Bible as a club to force their version of morality on everyone else, I won't bother with it again, because it wouldn't make any difference to any of you, natural law is not the same thing as Christian morality...you have somehow seized upon this one issue as the downfall and decay of the moral fabric of our society and demonized it...the Bible barely mentions it (doesn't mention Lesbians at all), and it mentions a whole lot of other things much worse, all the time, but you never comment on any of those outrages, just this gay thing, it must be painful to be so afraid of something so benign and unimportant as how people choose to have sex...why is this such a big deal to you?...is it because the people who have you worked up in such a lather over this issue are trying to keep you distracted while they complete their real agenda...dang, you got a conspiracy theory Rick, now I got 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 Asimov
    • A list please Rick
      Rick, Can you please make me a list of the correct groups to fear and oppress so that I can be right with God? Thanks. If you think that's what the Founders intended and a good fundamental basis for society then, well, I hope you have a narrow social circle or it won't be long until you are left behind in a pool of hate by history, prosperity and progress in this new American century. Best of luck finding support for your positions among anyone besides your three drinking buddies.
    • Progress
      Rick, the reasons homosexual marriage has never been legalized in the past 2000 years might be the same reasons it took so long to abolish slavery and give women equal political rights. *Progress* takes time.
      • well said
        Esteban and Kevin. Thank you for speaking the truth. There is absolutely a revisionist agenda at play. It is both attacking the freedom to speak out against a perceived immorality and, more importantly, it is an attack against the family (see Pope John Paul II). IF this was not a modern invention, why hasn't gay marriage been legalized somewhere in the world during the last 2,000 years or so? Answer: It has traditionally been viewed as immoral by societies, regardless of religion. Jim, you're right that it is about money, but you're wrong in saying that this fight is only about money.
      • Separation?
        Our founders, constitutional writers, and citizens NEVER intended to legalize homosexual acts and certainly would never categorize such unnatural behavior as marriage. Indeed all of our laws find their origin in Christian morality, so this claim of separation of Church and state regarding the moral code is baloney. The intent regarding the govt and church is to prevent any one church from being the official church of the government. The rest of these claims are all modern, secular fantasy. Marriage and family are the bedrock of society; and 2 men or 2 women cannot "join" to create society, no more than a dog and human can. This abnormal social experiment is not new, it has been tried and found wanting in past societies. It cannot persevere since it contradicts natural human behavior.
      • Well done Carol
        As you noted Carol, it all does come down to keeping the church and state separate. The Founding Fathers absolutely intended for that to happen, and they would be appalled by some of the folks who tout a gay marriage ban wrapping themselves in the flag and promoting themselves as "The Glorious Patriotic Guardians of Good". They wanted the government out of people's bedrooms and lives (Salem Witch Trials anyoone?). As for Kevin Bunch's ludicrous theory that the "True Homosexual Agenda" is playing out...well Kevin, there is a big difference between expressing your own personal views, and being reprimanded or fired while you are on the job for expressing those same views...a Business Owner can express their views, and give money to conservative causes if they like...people who are upset by this can elect not to patronize the business (see Chick-Fil-A...the CEO has given to many consevative causes, and supports anti-gay measures...has their bottom line been hurt because of it? Maybe...but it is his choice, and his customers). As for people like Broussard and Tim Hardaway, and Rush Limbaugh (who lasted 3 weeks with the NFL before the Donovan McNabb fiasco), they are certainly within their rights as citizens to express their point of view, but if they do so while getting a paycheck from ESPN or CBS, then their employer has every right to reprimand or fire them for saying things that may damage the brand...as much as I love a good conspiracy theory Kevin, you are totally wrong...this whole argument comes down to money, whether it is campaign contributions or advertizing dollars...Pence Bosma, Delph, Turner etc. took lots of money from conservative interests and they shill for the agenda of those groups because they owe them...some of them might actually agree with the postion those groups take, but that isn't material, their support was paid for. As for ESPN and the other networks reprimanding or firing people for expressing an opinion about a conrtroversial subject, that is about advertizing dollars and the brand, plain and simple. As a citizen, you have a right to express your own thoughts on a subject, no matter how foolish or intelligent the expression of those thoughts make you appear...no one can take that from you (except if you live in a country where one religion is recognized as the "correct" one, see many of the Middle Eastern countries as examples of what happens when you express ideas freely there)...but your employer sets your conditions of employment, and they can give you consequences for saying things that hurt the brand and cost them money. The world is changing Kevin...young people are less racist, less judgemental, less religious, and your obvious paranoia about that fact is showing...it doesn't mean there is a Gay agenda being played out. It is always the same with folks like Rick and you...liberty to you means free expression of ideas as long as you agree with the idea being expressed...but when you get push back, you want to make a law or amend the constitution to prevent that, because you are the only one who knows what the Constitution or the Bill of Rights says (or what the Founders really meant), and your interpretation of what is in the Bible is the only correct one (even though there are well over 3,000 different different denominations who rely on the Bible as their Holy Book). Last to s unverzagt...there is no law here that people have to read the Bible...it might be a good thing for folks who haven't read it to read it...but let me ask you a question...why don't you go to Iraq or Iran, and see if you would be forced to read and embrace the Koran there or suffer the consequences not...I bet that sound I hear is you hollering...
      • Hilarious
        "I just wonder what people who want gay marriage here would do if there was a law that required you to read the Bible? I bet you'd hear them holler." This may be the single funniest quote I've ever seen on a thread here. I spent 13 years in Indiana, and every day I thank god that I left. Calling it the Mississippi of the north is being kind.
      • Reply to Kevin Bunch
        It is easy. You separate church from state, which is how it should be. If you insist on your theology running the country then we are no better than countries such as Iran and Iraq.
      • Way off base
        Astonishing that you come from the libertarian angle of allowing people the freedom to do what they want yet totally are oblivious to the true homosexual agenda that is playing out. Are you really that blind to think this is just about people wanting to live their own way? This is about silencing anyone who speaks their faith or objects to lifestyles such as homosexuality. It's ultimately TOTAL governmental control on what we can and cannot say. Just google cases where business owners, atheletes, or sports announcers have been fined, reprimanded, or sued for simply exercising their religious freedoms and opinions against homosexuality (see Chris Broussard). Once the Federal Government recognizes this behavior as normal, the eventual coercsion of businesses and individuals to accept the law or else is obvious. How's that going to sit with your libertarian idealogy?
        • To s.unverzagt
          Yeah, requiring people to do anything is bad. That's why this bill doesn't require you to turn gay or even get gay-married. Thanks in advance for your comprehension.
        • The Foes
          Technically in this case the Legislature are "THE FOES" since they are the haters in this case. The people on the other side are defending peoples rights who are not trying to suppress freedom.
        • ok thats not my account
          Whoever is copying my account name and trolling needs to stop. I dont support the Gay Marriage ban period.
        • Correction
          The US Federal Courts, in KY and now VA, have knocked down the sense that marriages in other states cannot be recognized.
        • Now it's moot
          State by state, the Federal Courts have knocked down recognition of marriages performed in other states, and rightly so. The fear-driven religious fervor that somehow forbids love between any two people has now been cast into the ditch it belongs.
          • rationality prevails
            To Bryan Cahen and the others steeped in hyperbole that bashes Indiana...how would you have reacted if the bill HAD passed? Bear in mind that 3 of Indiana's 4 neighboring states have gay marriage bans enshrined in their constitutions, passed several years ago by sizable majorities. A bill is gliding through the Kansas legislature that will defend private businesses of their right to refuse to serve gays. And even in liberal Minnesota, the anti-gay marriage bill made it all the way to a citizens' referendum just over a half a year ago. I'd say, in the long run, Indiana hasn't gotten nearly as far in enshrining bigotry as many/most states.
            • Marriage Amendment
              So glad the GOP bigots have been embarrassed.....total waste of time and taxpayer money. This amendment is the biggest piece of bigotry presented in this state and is putting Indiana on a footing to rival Kansas and Mississippi as one of the most bigoted states.
            • Marriage Amendment
              Since the bible is a book of fiction, yes I would object to being required to read the bible......but then you would also have to specify whose bible, which version, which translation, etc....there is no ONE bible!!!
            • GOP must be purged
              Those of us who are libertarian-leaning must learn from this and purge the GOP of the elected members who supported this ban. Power in the hands of a few is always dangerous, as this proposed ban demonstrates. We must elect people who support small, unintrusive government and maximum freedom for the people they serve, not control.
              • relax everybody
                I think the insults on Indiana are rather uncalled for. Republicans hold a nearly 3-1 advantage in the state senate, so the fact that a civil union ban would fail in an environment like that, shows that by no means is Indiana even remotely comparable to Mississippi where a similar bill would sail by even today. As for the plain gay marriage ban, it's clear republican leadership like David Long never cared for this amendment anyway, and they're hoping the supreme court will rule on these bans unconstitutionality by mid 2015, so he and other republicans won't have to defend it in a high stakes and high turnout 2016 election. They saw what happened in Minnesota, and I think Long (and even Pence) realize the danger of pushing this forward in 2016
              • wonder
                I just wonder what people who want gay marriage here would do if there was a law that required you to read the Bible? I bet you'd hear them holler.
                • INDIANA=BACKWARDS
                • Don't blame it on the Democrats
                  Sorry, but this was a Republican issue from start to finish. Furthermore, Republicans hold a quorum in the state legislature so, blaming it on Democrats is the most ridiculous charge yet to be made. However, happy to see this atrocity go to where it belongs: The dust-bin of history.
                • Re: Jared Kaiser
                  Jared, judicial legalization will come first without a doubt. If it were up to Indiana's legislature to ensure equality, we would be transported back to 1850s Mississippi.
                • Good Riddance
                  This was the Ultra-Conservative Right's last chance. We'll never see this legislation again. The question now becomes whether we get legislative or judicial legalization in Indiana first. Any bets?
                • Try Logic Evan Bour
                  Last time I checked, the Democrats are trying to kill this right now. It's the Republicans that have amended this and are now dragging it out. Facts are a difficult thing when you're filled with conspiracy theories and party politics, aren't they?
                • rwh, i agree
                  Bosma and Pence have made me become a democrat.
                • VOTE
                  We need to put this issue to the voters this year so the state can move on to other issues. It seems like all the Democrats want to do is drag this out for politics.
                  • Best of luck in 2018 Rick
                    Come Tuesday, the headline may read that the Senate passed this hateful ban, but since the Senate failed to re-insert the second sentence as of an hour ago, the earliest you will see this on the ballot is 2018. This is the first time this language has been passed and the 2015 and 2016 legislature won't take up the issue because Pence and the GOP don't want it on the ballot in Pence's re-election year or a Presidential cycle. That means the two consecutive legislatures clock must, at best, re-start again with the 2016-2017 legislature to be followed by approval of the exact wording with the 2018-2019 legislature with the earliest ballot measure in 2018. Given the changes in public opinion and judicial interpretation on this issue, you have about a 1/500 chance of seeing this on the ballot then. So...best of luck Rick.
                  • So?
                    You first.
                  • Mississippi
                    Indiana, the Mississippi of the north (so sad)
                  • Bravo
                    Thank you Senators. It is important that this be sent to the voters this fall. Hold the line.
                    • Waste of Time
                      Why can't these Republican senators concentrate on other more important issues. This is embarassing for the State. There are so many other important issues to be addressed. I'm so glad I have changed parties like the rest of the country.
                      • Why?
                        Why do these senators hate their gay constituents so much?

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