|House Speaker Brian Bosma|
Just a couple of days ago, Bosma said that the marriage amendment wasn't among the Republicans' top priorities this session. He gave us some bull that everyone wants to hear. You know...jobs, education, blah blah.
That was before Bosma passed the ball to his Speaker Pro Tem, Eric Turner. Turner took it right to the hole and scored the basket as he filed the bill...House Joint Resolution 3. It's the bill formerly known as House Joint Resolution 6 2011. It's set for a hearing Monday at 10:00 a.m. in the House Judiciary Committee. If it passes there, it goes to the full House and then to the Senate and then to the voters.
As you probably know, this is the resolution that, if agreed to by the House, the Senate, and Indiana voters in 2014 would add the following language to the Indiana Constitution:
Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.
A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
Forget that there's already a law on the books. Forget that passing HJR-3 will bring forth legal challenges. Forget that Turner's House Bill 1153, filed to try to mitigate the damages of HJR-3, will bring up what's sure to be another legal mess. This is pure political theater. It's a cow-tow to the powerful far right culture vultures that are hellbent on protecting so-called "traditional marriage." Their puppet strings were barely hidden behind that wry smile and smug cockiness Bosma projects every day at the Statehouse.
I'm not the only one who noticed the fake out, putting up one agenda while pushing another behind the scenes. The Indianapolis Star's Matt Tully called the GOP's refusal to address the marriage amendment simply, "marketing."
He's right. It's all marketing. Marketing concocted to make Hoosiers think that its General Assembly actually was changing its stripes into a state legislature valuing, perhaps someday, equality for all. Bosma knew though. This was coming all along.
Now the Republicans have picked a fight. It's not just with the Democrats or with gay people. The Republicans have picked a fight with moderates concerned about equality. To placate the Eric Millers of the world, the GOP has cast its lot as the party that would write discrimination into the Indiana Constitution.
Bosma told reporters that he appreciates that this is a "personal issue" and that is sure to draw emotion. He also told reporters that it wouldn't "devastatingly" effect Indiana one way or another. I guess we're going to see. The GOP has reached the point of no return. They've gone so far down one road that it's going to be tough to come back. It's going to be nasty. It's going to be personal. It's going to be all of the above, and Hoosiers will be devastatingly affected by this fight. Families will be in the middle. It will be families of all kinds.
The old give and go might have scored the first basket, but Bosma and the GOP has now released a full-court press by Freedom Indiana that may just result in a victory for the other team. Whatever happens, this game...this fight...could have been avoided by simply letting HJR-6 pass quietly into the ether and taking up issues of real concern to Hoosiers.
Speaker Bosma, I hope you're proud of what you did to the Hoosier State.