State Sen. Brandt Hershman’s plan to wait for House action on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage just changed.
First, House Speaker Pat Bauer sent the measure to the Rules Committee chaired by Rep. Scott Pelath, the same place where it died last year. Then the Senate scheduled a hearing for next Thursday.
Senate Republican spokesman Scott Minier says, “Senators are hearing from a lot of people who say the House is more likely to do something if the Senate does something.”
Minier says Senators want to get past the marriage issue so they can get back to dealing with property taxes.
You will recall that the Senate passed SJR-7 last year for the second consecutive General Assembly. That makes any action by the Senate this year totally superfluous and all for show. The General Assembly elected by the voters in 2004 passed SJR-7. The amendment was referred to the General Assembly elected by the voters in 2006. Under Article 16 of the state constitution, subpart (B), if "the proposed amendment is agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each House, then the General Assembly shall submit the amendment to the electors of the State at the next general election." Because the Senate already acted last year, it only requires action by the House to send it to voters. As Shella notes, Rep. Bauer has indicated no interest in wasting the House's time on the unnecessary and bigoted amendment.
As Advance Indiana reported last year, the amendment's chief sponsor is the hypocritical Sen. Brandt Hershman, whose former wife alleges that he demanded she get an abortion when he learned she was pregnant with what would have been their first child, and that he filed for a divorce one week later after she complied with his wishes. As I wrote last year, Sen. David Long is determined to leave a dark legacy on his tenure as President Pro Tempore by continuing to pursue this mean-spirited and bigoted assault on the rights of some individuals for the sole purpose of assuaging a small number of fundamentalist, religious zealots.
"The Indiana Family Institute, along with our national partners at Focus on the Family, join in applauding the Senate for addressing this critical public policy issue despite inaction by the Indiana House." "Sens. Bray and Pro Tem David C. Long are especially key in agreeing to this hearing, along with the measure's author, Sen. Brandt Hershman."And now, I am pleased to report that House Speaker Pat Bauer and Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City), voices of sanity on this issue, have put this issue to bed for the balance of this session. Pelath tells the Star's Mary Beth Schneider that the most urgent issue facing the state is property taxes and not a debate over gay marriage. “I’m not planning on having a hearing,” Pelath said. “The short session (of the legislature) was designed to deal with emergencies. We have a very serious problem with the property tax system and we don’t have any gay marriages in Indiana.” People should simply boycott the useless hearing the Senate Repubicans have scheduled for next week. Sen. Long should be holding his head in shame.