Indiana GOP “delays” anti-gay marriage vote

Timothy Kincaid

February 8th, 2013

Back in February 2011, the Republican-led Indiana legislature overwhelming supported a bill which would bring an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment up for a vote. But in order to amend that state’s constitution, two separately elected legislatures have to support the bill, which means that it has to be voted on again either this year or next.

This year is off the table. (

Legislative leaders, even as they believe it is time for voters to weigh in on the issue, decided to postpone until next year the necessary and final vote in the Indiana General Assembly.

Their reason? Well there’s the public reason and the reason I think is real – and, oddly, they are a variation of each other.

I think that the Indiana GOP (unlike the Iowa GOP) is not suicidal. And they’ve pretty much figured out that not only would an amendment lose in a 2014 election, but that it just might take the Party down with it. So, they’re going to find some reason not to vote on this beast.

The public reason is that they want to wait until after the Supreme Court rules on Proposition 8.

“Prudence dictates that we wait,” Bosma said.

If lawmakers had voted this year, he said, “we could find ourselves in the very inadvisable situation of having a matter on the ballot in 2014 that has been ruled unconstitutional and there is no means of removing it from the ballot.”

Which is, in a way, sort of the same thing. Both are based on recognition that society has moved on, that equality is now increasingly seen as constitutionally protected and that the Supreme Court may well find it to be so.


February 8th, 2013

I disagree with Kincaid’s analysis. I think he is falling prey to the same fallacious thinking that trapped our opponents: Because we won the last battle, we are now unstoppable.

We won in 4 states last year, but none was nearly conservative as IN. NC is more like IN in its conservatism and we lost there 61-39. Now, I think we will do a lot better in IN, in part because the vote would take place on a general election day, but victory in IN is absolutely not a certain or even likely outcome.

The IN legislature is going to vote this on the ballot next year. No question. I think the real reason the IN legislature delayed is because there is no advantage to the anti-equality side in establishing that this will definitely be on the ballot in 2014. In MN, the legislature did just that, leaving a year and a half for campaigning. This gave us a lot of time to turn things around and score an upset. In IN, they have learned their lesson and they will vote this on the ballot 6 or 7 months before. They want the campaign to be a short, mad scramble, characterized by drive-by scare ads. Whether this works or not, will depend on whether we are able to follow the MN playbook and proceed with our campaign now as if this thing is already on the ballot.


February 9th, 2013

I wonder… what would happen if they put it on the 2014 ballot *now* and the Supreme Court ruled this summer that all state bans are unconstitutional? Would it still be on the ballot? Could it be implemented, and have to be challenged separately?


February 9th, 2013

According to Nate Silver’s analysis, the ban in question in Indiana would fail since it also bans civil unions as well. If the legislature wants to amend it they would have to start over again and the soonest it would appear on the ballot would be 2016.

In regards to the campaigns in other states, remember too that Washington and Maryland had campaigns that were only 6/7 months and we still won.

Lindoro Almaviva

February 9th, 2013

Having interacted with Bosma a couple of times I can say he truly is THAT stupid. He is self centered and has a serious case of the entitlement issues that affect so many white GOPers from his generation.


February 10th, 2013

Dale, your arguments make sense to me. I have often wondered how NC would have come out if the vote had been during the general election, bringing out more than just the rabidly anti-gay vote and the handful of active pro-gay supporters. If what Stefan says is true, that would make extra sense. That aspect should have been emphasized in NC, and a longer campaign might have taken the time to see that was really what was needed, since their appeal to the harms the amendment might cause to straits was falling on deaf ears. Of course, given the state of NC’s current government, the amendment would likely have passed; a narrower margin hardly matters if you still lose.

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