The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Politics

January 24, 2014

'Second sentence' becomes focus in marriage fight

INDIANAPOLIS — As Indiana's gay marriage battle advanced to the House this week, opponents of a constitutional ban refocused their efforts on the wording of the measure in an effort to forestall an all-out ballot war through November.

The House Elections and Apportionment Committee voted along party lines Wednesday night to approve the ban. But opponents recalibrated Thursday with a new focus on the expansive language in the ban's so-called "second sentence" that's prompted concern from both parties.

A constitutional ban on gay marriage is still perceived to have strong support in the Republican-controlled Indiana House, but current legislation goes two steps further than that, barring any future approval of civil unions and potentially banning employer benefits for same-sex couples.

Having failed to kill the ban in committee, opponents are now seizing on the second sentence as their best hope of spiking the amendment.

"Just like anything in the legislative process, there are a hundred ways to kill a bill. We've gone through two of them," said Megan Robertson, campaign manager for Freedom Indiana, the umbrella group representing opponents. "If it were up to me, we would've killed it in Judiciary, and we would just beat it outright. But there are a lot of ways to kill it, and the second sentence could be a part of that."

The first test could come as soon as Monday, when the House returns to work. The marriage ban could be amended by lawmakers at that point, and could see a final vote as soon as Tuesday.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, stepped in front on the issue this week, moving the measure between committees because the first committee did not have the votes to bring the measure to the full House floor. House Democrats protested the move Thursday, dubbing the speaker's decision to move a bill to a friendlier committee an unprecedented "mulligan."

Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, sought a rare vote on the formal approval of the House election committee's Wednesday night vote, but House Republicans beat back the tactic 67-30. The speaker defended his decision Thursday, arguing again that no single lawmaker should be allowed to stop the measure from reaching a full vote.

On many other measures, changing the wording would have minimal impact. But altering the language of the proposed constitutional amendment has the potential to "reset" the multi-year process supporters launched in 2011. Amending the state constitution requires passage through two consecutive two-year meetings of the General Assembly, followed by approval of the voters.

Legislative lawyers have told Republican leaders that changing the wording could restart that process, effectively making the 2016 the earliest that voters would see the measure. Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who is up for re-election in 2016, hinted at the political peril of appearing on the ballot with the marriage amendment when he included a line in his State of the State address asking lawmakers to settle the issue this year.

The maneuvering by lawmakers would have been unthinkable just three years ago, when a broad bipartisan group of House members first approved the ban 70-26. But a shift in national attitudes on gay marriage has spurred some supporters, from both parties, to reconsider their previous votes.

Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, said his vote in committee in favor of the amendment Wednesday night was only meant to advance the measure to the full House. He said he would like to see the second sentence of the amendment removed.

"If it remains intact, I certainly reserve the right to vote 'no' on third reading," Cox said.


Text Only
Local Politics
  • Election board looking into voter fraud allegation The Madison County Election Board delayed a decision into allegations of voter fraud in the May primary until it can gather additional information. Brian Bell, who lost the Democratic Party’s nomination for sheriff by 48 votes to Scott Mellinger, raised allegations to the election board during a hearing Friday.

    August 19, 2014

  • NWS - HB0716 - wigwam - JC 37a City officials hope latest effort saves Wigwam

    After months of discussion and negotiations, the fate of the iconic Wigwam complex may well be determined by the end of the month.The Anderson City Council on Thursday voted to approve a resolution that allows the Anderson Redevelopment Commission to accept ownership of the Wigwam and then immediately transfer the ownership to a still-unnamed development group.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ken de la Bastide: Yes, Madison County needs a personnel board Earlier this year the Madison County Commissioners voted to disband the Personnel Board, stating it no longer had a function. The fallacy of that assumption was vividly brought to light during last Tuesday’s meeting of the Madison County Council.

    August 16, 2014

  • Dispatch agreement tabled by City Council With no discussion about emergency dispatch services, the Anderson City Council tabled Thursday an ordinance to consolidate those services with Madison County.

    August 14, 2014

  • Larry Crenshaw mug Anderson fire department calls for new headquarters Anderson Fire Department officials have renewed their request for a new headquarters station, in the 2015 budget proposal.

    August 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Madison County asked to join reservoir authority The Madison County Council tabled a request Tuesday to become part of an inter-governmental agency to oversee the creation, development and construction of the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir.

    August 12, 2014

  • Mike Spyers mug Roundabout work to begin at Anderson's 59th Street A contract to begin work on changes to 59th Street west of Scatterfield Road for a future Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant has been approved by the City of Anderson.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Summerlake annexation meeting set Ingalls Town Council has scheduled a workshop to discuss the possibility of annexing the Summerlake community just south of Interstate 69.

    August 12, 2014

  • Anderson Board of Works to consider roundabout contract A contract to begin work on changes to 59th Street west of Scatterfield Road for a future Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant is expected to be approved.

    August 12, 2014

  • NWS - HB0810 - Ingalls Annexation photo Ingalls considering Summerlake annexation

    Fresh off of annexing land north of Interstate 69 around Exit 214, the Town of Ingalls is considering another annexation. This time, the proposed target is Summerlake, an 834-home community just south of the highway.

    August 9, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide