Instead of that fantasy, amendment supporters are now bashing Terri Austin, an Anderson Democrat who opposes gay marriage but tearfully rejected the overreaching language in the amendment last week.
Amendment supporters are mad at Austin. They should be furious with themselves.
In their zeal to bash anything gay, they pushed a measure that scared many people who read it straight. In a homophobic tizzy, backers tried to push into the state's most sacred legal document words that, for starters, could have prevented prosecutors from pursuing domestic violence cases.
Plain and simple, the folks who most wanted the constitutional amendment crafted a technically flawed piece of legislation. You don't put technically flawed pieces of legislation in the Indiana Constitution.
Still, the ads have arrived.
"Terri Austin has betrayed the will of the people of the state," a gloomy radio spot from the Family Research Council says. A newspaper ad has similar words.
It's no surprise Austin is being targeted. Next year's battle for the House is going to be fierce, and her critics believe this will be a good issue.
Instead of blaming Austin, Tully thinks the proponents should be looking in the mirror at themselves. "It's funny to see amendment backers fume." "Because if they'd stuck with the measure's first sentence -- 'Marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman.' -- it would have passed." "Instead, they pushed too far, spitefully tossing in a tortured second sentence many feared could hurt domestic partner benefits as well as domestic violence cases." "They lost." "A week later, they pout." "The ads are the first of many to warn that marriage is crumbling as an institution because we didn't ratify schoolyard bullying of gay Hoosiers."
Tully thinks House Democrats had to choose from two bad choices coming into the debate. "They could anger some voters by spiking the amendment or they could irritate others by endorsing it," he suggested. "With no good political option, Austin and her colleagues did the right thing," he concludes. "They killed a mean-spirited, unnecessary and poorly written piece of legislation -- no matter what the ads say."
And the Star's business section has more on how the adoption of SJR-7 could have hurt the state's image from a business perspective. Quoting Emmis Communications' CEO Jeff Smulyans, Erika Smith writes:
"How does the old saying go? When you land in Indiana, set your watch back 20 years," said Jeff Smulyan, chairman and chief executive of Emmis Communications Corp., which owns radio stations around the world. "Hopefully, we can show we're more inclusive than people think."
Job recruiters and tourism officials see value in appearing inclusive, in touting diversity. They say Indiana's economic future depends on it.
They want to attract gays and lesbians, as well as women, blacks and Hispanics, as tourists and employees. But recruiters and tourism officials say they are fighting an uphill battle of negative perceptions.
Last week, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage failed in the Indiana General Assembly. Five of the state's largest employers had urged its demise. It remains to be seen whether the defeat will bolster Indiana's image among gays, lesbians and other minorities.
The state already has plenty of strikes against it.
"Indiana is not New York. It's not Boston. It's not a big city. There are things that make Indiana a more difficult sell," said Mark Land, spokesman for Columbus-based engine maker Cummins. "You don't need anything additional working against you."
Cummins, Emmis, Eli Lilly and Co., WellPoint and Dow AgroSciences all came out publicly against the amendment, saying it would make it harder for them to recruit employees.
"Any company that competes in a global economy has got to be as inclusive," Smulyan said.
Naturally, Gas City's Rep. Eric Turner, a same-sex marriage amendment proponent tells Smith the business argument is "bogus." "He said only five of the state's 250,000 companies spoke up," Smith writes.