Vote on Gay Marriage Ban Delayed Till Next Year
Bosma, Long say they'll wait to see how Supreme Court rules in June
Senate President Pro Tem David Long (left), House Speaker Brian Bosma (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
The General Assembly will not consider a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2013.
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long had said for weeks they had concerns about taking up an amendment that could be invalidated in a few months by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the two leaders didn't slam the door shut until Thursday -- Long says they were studying whether the Supreme Court's review of California's gay-marriage ban would necessarily apply to Indiana's, and says other legislation had their attention anyway.
Indiana's filing of a friend-of-the-court brief last week, asserting it's "doubtful" other state laws could stand if the California law is struck down, appeared to end the legal debate. Bosma says legislators don't want to be in a position of placing a referendum on the ballot, then having the Supreme Court rule it unconstitutional. He notes there's no way to take the measure offr the ballot once legislators approve.
And Long notes the delay makes no practical difference, since the amendment can't go to voters until 2014 whether it's approved by legislators this year or next.
Bosma and Long say a few Republicans wanted to press ahead with a vote anyway, but most agreed with the decision. Auburn Senator Dennis Kruse, who sponsored the amendment in the Senate, released a statement supporting what he calls a "prudent" decision.
Supporters of gay marriage also applaud the decision. Indiana Equality executive director Rick Sutton says the delay gives them an extra year to organize opposition.
Both Sutton and Bosma say they're confident their side would win if the amendment did come to a vote. A Howey Politics poll last fall found support for the amendment had slipped to a plurality, and a Ball State poll found a majority opposing the amendment. Bosma questions the methodology and sample of the Ball State poll, and says he's seen other polls suggesting the amendment continues to have wide support in Indiana.