Arguments for Indiana marriage ban heard; Candidate quits GOP party

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Arguments in favor of Indiana’s proposal for an amendment to the state constitution that would ban marriage equality were heard by Indiana House members on January 21.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) presented the anti-gay measure to a group of conservative lawmakers, who are likely to take the legislation to a vote by the General Assembly.

Bosma announced that he is pushing this bill on behalf of GOP members who are in favor of the constitutional amendment.

“I responded to the overwhelming majority of the Republican caucus who have extensively lobbied me to bring this to the floor in one fashion or another,” Bosma said, as reported by the Indianapolis Star. 

Openly gay Republican Andy Markle, who is running for the state House, was so disappointed by Bosma’s actions that he resigned from the Republican party. 

This type of legislation would normally be presented before the House Judiciary Committee; however, when the measure was originally proposed, three Republican members voiced concern about the law. Bosma responded by moving his testimony to the House Elections and Apportionment Committee, a group in charge of putting measures up for a vote.

“I strongly suspect that the move to the Elections Committee was done to ensure that the legislation would be approved and sent on to the full House,” House Democrats spokesman John Schorg said, as reported by the Huffington Post.

“It feels like getting the rug pulled out from under us,” said a spokesperson for marriage equality group Freedom Indiana, Jennifer Wagner.

In order for the measure to pass it must receive at least seven votes from the thirteen-member Elections Committee. It was reported that already five members are planning on voting in favor of the bill.

According to the Star, one House member stated that ten to fifteen caucus members didn’t approve of Bosma’s seemingly calculated move of presenting the bill to a specific group of conservative lawmakers.

Markle posted on Facebook, “It is with a heavy heart but with a clear conscience that I announce the end of my run for Indiana State House of Representatives, District 99, as a Republican. With today’s announcement by House Speaker Brian Bosma, that he is using extraordinary and unprecedented rules to change House Joint Resolution 3’s committee assignment, I have no choice but to resign my candidacy as a Republican,” he wrote, according to the Bilerico Project. 

“As an openly gay male and a conservative, I find it deplorable that the state would choose to take such extraordinary measures to disenfranchise me and my fellow LGBT brothers and sisters. In an era where my party declared that it was the party of ‘small government’ and ‘less intrusion,’ it has been confirmed that it is not the party of small government or less intrusion.

“I am not leaving the Republican Party; the Republican Party has left me.”

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