Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bosma Reassigns Marriage Amendment From Judiciary Committee To Elections Committee In Last Ditch Effort To Save It

House Speaker Brian Bosma has apparently opted to reassign HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment to add Indiana's statutory ban on same-sex marriages to Indiana's Bill of Rights, from the Judiciary Committee to the Elections Committee to ensure its safe passage to the full House. As first reported on this blog, Bosma threatened to remove several Republican members of the Judiciary Committee who were leaning against voting for the amendment, enough votes to sink it in committee when combined with the four Democratic no votes on the committee.

Some Republican insiders believe that Bosma may be setting himself up or other Republican lawmakers who are supporting the marriage amendment for inopportune public disclosure of political career-ending scandals in his overzealous pursuit of enshrining discrimination against the state's gay and lesbian citizens in the state's constitution. A growing number of Republican lawmakers are incensed with Bosma for pushing this hot button social issue in light of shifting public opinion, particular among younger voters, on the acceptance of same-sex marriages.

Many Republicans want to end this madness now before it further erodes the party's image through such public displays of intolerance, noting that legally the amendment is completely unnecessary given Indiana's current defense of marriage law banning same-sex marriages. If the state law is eventually overturned as unconstitutional by the federal courts, as many now believe it will be, the enactment of a state constitutional amendment will make no difference as has already happened in other states like Utah and Oklahoma. Some Republican leaders and candidates fear that placing the issue on the ballot will drive voters to the polls who might not otherwise turn out in an off-year election to stop the poorly-conceived amendment to the detriment of the party's candidates by distracting from far more important issues on which a majority of  voters side with the party.

UPDATE: Freedom Indiana's Megan Robertson, a lesbian and Republican political consultant, issued a statement late this afternoon reacting negatively to Bosma's latest move:
"Thousands of opponents of HJR-3 have called, written and come in person to the Statehouse to explain to lawmakers how this divisive amendment will harm our families, friends and loved ones. We've explained the very real problems with this amendment through our personal stories. We've followed the legislative process with an earnest expectation that legislators truly seek to represent their constituents.    
"We found that to be the case with the legislators serving on the House Judiciary Committee, but House Speaker Brian Bosma broke his commitment to Hoosiers to uphold the traditional legislative process. Speaker Bosma repeatedly promised to treat this issue like any other bill and that no one person would not make this decision. We are proud of the way we have conducted ourselves and disappointed that Speaker Bosma did not live up to his word.  
"Would we change our actions had we known all along that one man planned to change the rules to push this divisive amendment through? Absolutely not. And this power play only spurs us to fight harder. Today is a dark day for democracy in the state of Indiana, but we are more committed than ever to defeat this amendment for the good of our state, our economy and our future together."

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