The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

June 7, 2014

Indiana GOP panel votes to keep marriage platform clause

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A panel of delegates at the Indiana Republican convention defeated an effort Friday to strip a definition of marriage from the party platform, setting up a potential showdown over a divisive clause similar to one that was removed from the document two years ago.

The language defines marriage as between a man and a woman but also recognizes that other nontraditional families make valuable contributions to society.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, acting as co-chair of the party's resolution committee, blocked an effort to remove the language and said it was out of order. Opponents of the gay marriage language then appealed Ellspermann's ruling but lost on a 4-4 vote of the resolutions committee.

The 15 minutes of procedural wrangling inside the resolutions committee Friday afternoon prefaced an expected fight on the issue during Saturday's meeting of the delegates.

Gay marriage has been a tough issue for Indiana's Republicans this year. Supporters of placing an existing ban on gay marriage in the state constitution failed in their efforts during the legislative session earlier this year. Republican lawmakers stripped language from that proposal that would have banned future approval of civil unions, but in doing so also reset the clock on the state's lengthy constitutional amendment process.

Gay marriage supporters claimed victory at the end of the session, but the issue is far from settled. At the time, some lawmakers said they were waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to make a final decision on the issue. Meanwhile the issue has bubbled up in Indiana's federal courts. A federal judge in southern Indiana granted temporary recognition to one Indiana gay couple's out-of-state marriage last month.

The fight has revived fault lines in the party which appeared during the marriage battle in the General Assembly earlier this year. Opponents of gay marriage suffered an upset when lawmakers narrowly decided to keep a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage from the ballot this November.

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