Sunday, October 15, 2006

Star Botches Bauer Same-Sex Marriage Amendment Story

As has become a commonplace occurrence of late, the Star's State House reporters were first scooped by the Northwest Indiana Times' Patrick Guinane on the news that Houses Democratic leader Pat Bauer intends to allow a vote on the controversial amendment which will ban same-sex marriages if he becomes Speaker during the next session of the General Assembly. Now, its State House reporters can't even get their facts straight on when the amendment was last voted on.

In today's "Behind Closed Doors" column, the Star writes, "The amendment was voted on and approved by the House and Senate earlier this year." Wrong! The amendment was voted on in 2005, the first year Republicans regained control of the House from the Democrats after the 2004 election. To prove it was capable of making the mistake twice in the same column, the Star added, "Earlier this year, the Senate voted 42-8 to approve the proposed constitutional amendment, and the House voted 76-23 to pass it." The Star doesn't even have the decency to attribute Guinane as the source of the quote it provides from Bauer in the story.


Anonymous said...

You were expecting accuracy in BHD?

Are you daft?

Try lookin on the news pages for accurate political reporting.

Ooops, there's not much there.

As for Bauer--can we just rewind the last week and start over? I'm disappointed, mad, hurt, scared and apprehensive...does he HAVE to be Speaker? On yeah, he doled out all the campaign cash, so the answer is yes.


Greg Porter for Speaker. Sheila Klinker. Bill Crawford. Hell, anybody else.

Anonymous said...

And this suprises you Gary? the Star sucks. Gannett sucks. USA Today sucks. It says a lot when you can get more news out of the blogs than from printed wire copy.

Anonymous said...

But Gary, you missed the biggest item in the article. Says Bauer, "I just think the only way for them not to demagogue it is to have a redundancy. It's too bad it has to go in the constitution, but so be it. It's not worth the time, the trouble, to point out the fact that it's not a problem. It's better just to have the vote and see how it goes."

Two points: 1) Pretty clear that Bauer plans to have a vote; and 2) Even if Bauer did oppose this, it was because he thinks it's not necessary, not because he opposes the actual outcome. In other words, as can be confirmed by those who actually witnessed this debate in the State House, the only vocal opposition to the amendment was from those who said that gay marriages are already forbidden and, therefore, no additional action is needed.

Some bloggers on this site may think that the small minority of Democrats who opposed this amendment are supportive of gay marriages. If so, you have clearly misread what they have said and done. Bauer's statement makes that clear.

It is also clear that gay marriages will not be permitted any time soon in Indiana. The only real question is whether the courts will enter this fray - a possibility that the amendment is intended to short-circuit.

But even the if the courts do enter this issue, 1) the likelihood of gay marriage prevailing is pretty darned slim and 2) if it does prevail, the legislature will step in immediately and pass the amendment with an even wider margin than the 2005 votes and in the shortest time possible.

Gary, I am right with you on many, many issues - nearly all, in fact. But this attempt to redefine the definition of marriage is both misguided and destined for failure. It will fail, most clearly, because the vast, vast majority of the Indiana public - and also the legislators who are elected by that public - do not support it.

If the courts do step in, then the ultimate outcome will be a bigger loss than the one that you are currently facing. Legislators like Bauer will be leading the line to make sure that the amendment gets passed because they will want to correct, as quickly as possible, the mistake they made in believing that the courts will not act and in believing that gay marriage in Indiana would never, even happen.

So here's your real quandry, Gary. You can support a Republican majority in the House that will be with you on nearly every issue except this one. Or you can support a Democrat majority in the House that will oppose you on nearly every issue except this one, but will produce the same ultimate outcome on this issue (if not an immediate outcome, as Bauer is promising).

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon 12:05, I didn't miss the point of Bauer's comments. I posted previously on them. Bauer has been mischaracterized in the past as being more supportive on the gay marriage issue. In fact, unlike a number of his Democratic colleagues, he didn't vote at all on SJR-7 when it was called up for a vote. I can't support a Republican majority in the House that will pursue other items, such as a ban on adoptions by gay parents, in addition to the marriage amendment. Divided government sounds good to me. It keeps both extremes in check.

Chris Douglas said...

12:05 Anon, you are back. I hope you go back and read the responses to your earlier postings. I do now appreciate that you are not merely a disinterested onlooker, but one who I suspect has a vested interest in a particular race.

You are way off base. The majority of Hoosiers favor such things as hospital visitation and inheritance rights, both of which would be rights precluded by this amendment. What's more, the majority of young Americans - and young Hoosiers - are perfectly comfortable with same sex marriage, which is the REAL reason why this amendment is necessary for supporters of your position. In the absense of a permanent solution nailed in place by the Constitution, Indiana's laws would evolve in the direction of humaneness and decency within the next generation.

And an earlier poster who described him or herself as a House Dem has indeed probably correctly diagnosed the situation, I believe. Namely, the question is not whether the Amendment passes the next session, but WHICH amendment with WHICH wording. Wording which forestalls any recognition of the rights to equal protection gay citizens have? or wording which allows it?

As for other issues with which Republicans may agree, it is regrettable that the Party's right wing has so debased itself with prejudice as to draw a comparison among principled people with... say... the Italy of Mussolini. Does a principled person support people who claim to make the trains run on time, while those same people upend the Constitution and void its equal protections and guarantees to religious freedom?

You have a responsibility to speak up for the equal protection of the laws for gay citizens and for the religious freedom of our Churches, not to tut-tut Bauer.

And let there be no question: The Democrats would not be commenting on this issue if they didn't have to position themselves to respond to right wing Republican demagoguery which seeks to maintain office by drumming up anti-gay hysteria.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about Anon. 12:05's post.

I weighed in with the governor when Indiana passed a marriage definition law. We agreed to disagree. Little did I know its short wording would someday be viewed as favorable to a proposed Amendment. Frightening.

What my partner and I not need now, is for the Constitution to deliver what is effectively a full-body-slam against us. We'll deal with the law, and its marriage implications. We have spent money on legal documents to protect our rights in multiple situations.

But an Amendment would relieve us of more rights than we currently enjoy. Unacceptable.

As a longtime participant and student of politics, I have paid very close attention to this issue. I have heard the Speaker-to-Be and the current Speaker wax eloquent on the Amendment.

Bauer's sudden revelations are indeed a change of attitude. Please don't try to insult my intellegence by telling me it's some kind of game, that the wording will change, etc.

I was born at night,but not last night.

If Mr. Bauer proceeds with a vote, it will pass. Overwhelmingly. I'm betting there aren't 20 courageous House members who would stand against it. I expect the organizations who lobby for gay and civil rights to work the halls hard and not sit still for any kind of vote. It is the only political strategy that makes sense.

No vote in the next two sessions means we are, at a minimum, 4.5-6 years away from an Amendment getting another foothold.

A vote means we're potentially 20 months or so away. The soonest this Amendment could be on the Indiana statewide ballot is likely the 2008 primary.

And that's exactly where it will be is Baurer allows a vote. Period.

Arms yor political guns. Lock and load. This is political war, and it must be waged on multiple fronts with multiple strategies. But the only real effective block is for Bauer to refuse to call it down.

He is a smart man. We need to arm him with appropriate information. And we need to quietly remember, if he calls this bill down, what he did and why.

Chris Douglas said...

Anon 6:26, what I think confuses you is that Anon 12:05 is no friend of the community.

Anon 12:05 wants a Republican House of Representatives and is perfectly comfortable with this amendment, including all of its ramifications. Anon 12:05 may or may not believe that Bauer would change the wording, and thereby delay passage of the amendment yet again, but were Anon 12:05 to have his (or her) way, the amendment would pass as presently worded. Certainly, Anon 12:05 would not speak up to stop it. Anon 12:05 is trying to get Gary's agreement to support a Republican House in spite of the amendment.

Anon 12:05 might possibly be running for that House, or at least supporting someone who is, and seeking to dissuade glbt opposition. Anon 12:05 I think may well be the same person who was posting on Saturday, October 7th. Or maybe not.

Anon 12:05: The amendment would invalidate any future law that might extend intestate inheritance rights to same sex couples, though the majority of Hoosiers support such rights. Are you prepared to speak up against this amendment? Or are you content to let it pass without your vocal opposition?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Chris.

Again: any attempt to vote on this Amendment wll not be good news for us. If Bauer does indeed "change the wording," he'd be a fool...the far right will see through that, and crucify him even worse than if he'd never allowed it to come up for a vote.