INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
As lawmakers continue pushing to ban gay weddings under the Indiana
Constitution, state Republicans are debating whether to define marriage as
between a man and a woman - a clause removed from the party platform two
The Indiana GOP’s
platform committee this week voted to reinsert the language in the document,
which serves as an official statement of the party’s values and typically
includes sweeping statements such as support for fiscal responsibility.
The last platform
approved at the party’s 2012 convention did not address gay marriage. But
when Republican delegates gather in Fort Wayne next month, they’ll have to
decide the party’s official position.
Megan Robertson said the fight is divisive. Robertson, who led the lobbying
campaign against a proposed marriage ban this year, said the issue “drives a
wedge” in the party.
“This is an issue
where there are a variety of opinions within the Republican Party, so the
platform should not take sides on that,” she said.
counting on a battle at the convention when the roughly 1,700 delegates are
asked to take up the measure.
Terre Haute lawyer
Jim Bopp, perhaps best known for his national efforts to fight campaign
finance limits, offered the proposal last week at a meeting of the party’s
platform committee. He noted that the language had been in the state party
platform through 2010 but was somehow removed in 2012, the last time the
platform was altered.
Members of the
platform committee, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and
Indianapolis City-County Council Minority Leader Mike McQuillen, met
throughout the state in the last few months to draft the party’s 2014
platform. They held their final meeting in Indianapolis Monday and approved
the marriage language. It also recognizes that other families make valuable
contributions to society.
“I think it
answered some of the criticisms of the original amendment, that it implied
we were criticizing other family’s formations,” Bopp said. “I never felt
that we were.”
Bopp said he’s not
expecting a battle at the convention because the new compromise language
assuaged many concerns. He noted that many Republicans already support
limiting marriage to being between one man and one woman.
The fight comes
just a few months after state lawmakers battled over the issue at the
Statehouse. Opponents of gay marriage proposed adding the state’s existing
ban to the state constitution by placing it on the November ballot for
consideration by voters.
But state lawmakers
altered the proposed ban, re-setting the clock on Indiana’s lengthy
constitutional amendment process and making 2016 the soonest voters may see
the issue on the ballot. Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne,
said at the time that he and many other lawmakers expected the Supreme Court
to weigh in on the issue, making any state action likely moot.