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GOP leaders: Marriage amendment not priority

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By Olivia Covington

The Republican leaders of the Indiana House and Senate both said a constitutional same-sex marriage ban won't be found on their list of priorities for this year's legislative session.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, on Thursday told reporters he has not decided whether the proposed amendment will get a vote this year - and then dismissed the issue.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. By Eddie Castillo, TheStatehouseFile.com
  • House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. By Eddie Castillo, TheStatehouseFile.com

"Anybody have a real question, an important question?" he said.

Two measures seeking to amend the Indiana constitution to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions or similar legal statuses were introduced in the House - including one by Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, and one by Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero. Bosma sent them both to the House Judiciary Committee.

"All we've done is assign (the amendment) to committee as required, so our focus is on career development," Bosma said.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, has assigned an identical measure to his chamber's Judiciary Committee, but he said his caucus also has not yet discussed how it will handle the amendment.

"It's not the highest priority, obviously," Long said.

The two leaders' lack of interest in a same-sex marriage ban is a departure from previous sessions - especially in the Senate, where Republicans have repeatedly approved such a ban in recent years.

In 2004, Bosma declared a constitutional same-sex marriage ban "the most critical piece of the people's business." He led House Republicans, who were then the minority party, in a walk-off after then-Democratic Speaker Pat Bauer of South Bend refused to allow a vote.

The proposed amendment was approved by both the House and the Senate in 2011. That was the first move in a three-step process. The exact same amendment must win passage in the House and the Senate again in either 2013 and 2014. Then, voters would have the final say in a November 2014 public referendum.

Olivia Covington is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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