Back to Reality: The Gay Marriage Amendment

As most of you are probably aware, earlier this week the Indiana State Senate did as expected and passed the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  It didn’t stop there though since banning something that is already illegal wasn’t quite enough.  The bill also makes sure to get rid of civil unions and really any benefits associated with marriage. It now needs to pass through the next elected legislature after the 2012 elections with the exact same language and then will be voted on by Indiana voters most likely in 2014.

Matt Tully penned an interesting column trying to put a positive spin on the situation saying this gives Hoosiers a chance to send a message against discrimination with a vote striking down the amendment in 2014.  He urges sympathetic political leaders, gay rights groups and the business community who view this amendment as anti-business to work together and get ready for the big vote with grassroots efforts and fundraising. And he reminds us that with each passing day, more and more Hoosier see this legislation as spiteful discrimination.  These things, in our opinion, are all true.

But we also think that Tully’s column is full of wishful thinking and is based in a dream world rather than the reality here in Indiana.  While many Hoosiers do believe this is discriminatory nonsense that should not be put in our state constitution, there are a great many who believe it is critical to protect families and marriage. We’re frankly not sure who or what they think is threatening it but they certainly believe it to be true. 

In 2014, these individuals will be worked up into a frenzy by Right-wing advocates like Micah Clark and Eric Miller.  Unfortunately, many Republicans and Democrats will begin to pile on to the issue and use it as a wedge in their close elections. And the amendment will most likely pass. 

If people want to stop this amendment from moving forward, it needs to be done by kicking the can down the road and ensuring the bill does not pass the next legislature.  While all the preparation for a possible 2014 vote is important, the best chance for success is getting a legislature that will not allow this legislation to pass the second time around and will focus on other issues. 

Right now, we have an extremely conservative State Senate that will absolutely pass this bill and there is little chance of changing the dynamics in the upper chamber.  Even more disheartening is that the likely Republican nominee for Governor, Mike Pence, will surely use this issue as well.  The best hope is shaking things up in the House which will be difficult particularly with Pence on the ballot and the TEA Party running around scaring away moderate candidates.

This isn’t a scenario we like very much since we do lean to the Right and typically the folks that support this bill do too. We aren’t advocating to toss Republicans out the door and give the House to Pat Bauer.  Frankly, he voted for the amendment this year in the House session so that is not a solution. 

The only real solution is for the people who care about this issue is to work within BOTH Parties to find and support candidates based on where they stand on this particular issue.  All the groups that Tully mentioned need to begin candidate recruitment and be ready to play in both the Primary and General elections in 2012. 

Gay rights advocates have been used and abused by both political parties.  This is a human equation, not a partisan one.  Until advocates factor that into their strategy, they are going to have a hard time keeping this rock from rolling down the mountain.


About Washington Street Politics
Covering policy and politics from end to end of Washington Street in Indianapolis

5 Responses to Back to Reality: The Gay Marriage Amendment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Can we get a list of the House members (Rs & Ds) that supported the amendment? We can then find a strategy to primary these people with people who don’t promote discrimination.

  2. House votes can be viewed at

    Try not to be too discouraged by those votes as some of the votes in favor went that way because it was a losing battle. That said, how solid can those votes be if they flip when the going gets rough?

    Senate votes (in case you care):

  3. Wurstnitemare says:

    According to Mike Delph nad the State Republicans if Im married and cannot have children,Im not a Christian. And the party wonders why they cannot attract the youth to the party.How dare the party tell me that I am not a Christian.What right does Delph have to regulate if I can be a Christian or not.If this is the Republican party of the future, they can have it.Delph and his crew live in the 60s.

    There are a ot more of us middle of the road, logical thinking Republicans than Delph and his crew care to admit.

    BTW,Mr.Delph one of the biggest contributors to the party in the past four years is a man who is married,cannot have children and is an elder in his church.I hope that you wil be the one to tell him that he is not a Christian.See how much cash flows your way.But,I do give him credit for returning Durhams money.Now it’s time for Brainard to return the money.

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