Indiana Republicans battle over marriage plank in the Party platform

May 19th, 2014 at 4:22 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The Indiana Republican Party is engaged in a new and divisive debate over gay marriage.

Its all about whether the party platform should address that controversial subject.  The last GOP platform in 2012 was silent on the marriage issue, but some conservatives want a statement in support of traditional marriage in the platform this time.

It could lead to a public battle at the state convention in Fort Wayne next month.

The Republican Platform has been the subject of hearings conducted around the state by Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, but most of the debate over what to include in it has taken place behind the scenes.

Some key Republicans are hoping to avoid a marriage debate like the one that drew crowds to the Statehouse earlier this year.

Terre Haute attorney Jim Bopp is leading the effort to insert a controversial paragraph into the platform.  “Endorsing marriage between a man and a woman,” he said.  “It’s the position of our governor and the vast majority of our legislators and a vast majority of Republicans so we think it should be reflected in the platform.”

That’s what was done in 2010 when the Indiana GOP Platform said “We support the millenia old concept of marriage as a union between a woman and a man.”

But in 2012 the subject was avoided when the platform read:  “We believe that strong families are the foundation of virtue.”

Ellspermann declined comment as she rushed into the platform committee meeting and a party spokeswoman said that platform discussions are kept in the strictest confidence.

Jim Bopp isn’t hiding.  “We shouldn’t be avoiding important issues,” he said. “We should be taking a stand.”

For the record the Indiana Democratic Party is still working on its platform, but a draft calls not only for marriage equality but also for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

This is one area where there is a clear contrast between the parties no matter how the GOP platform battle plays out.

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