Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Senator Richard Young Should Explain Vote on HJR-3

Senator Richard Young
Hoosier Democrats met in Fort Wayne in 2012 and added an historic plank to their party platform.  The party would now support same sex marriage in Indiana.  It may sound obvious, but it was a long and hard-fought battle by many people to get that plank in the party platform.

Consistently, the Democrats have come to the defense of same sex marriage advocates in the state.  It's been the Democratic Party with some key Republican allies that have successfully kicked the can of a same sex marriage constitutional ban down the road for at least another year and maybe two.  Thanks to organizations like Freedom Indiana, Indiana Equality, businesses, educational institutions, Chambers of Commerce, and tons of grassroots supporters, votes changed in both caucuses and HJR-3 survived...but in a diet version.

Gone is the second sentence that would have banned civil unions or anything else resembling marriage.  It's not a perfect amendment.  It still clearly states that only marriage in Indiana can between one man and one woman, but there's enough wiggle room now to see some light for advocates.  The marriage equality fight continues.

Back in 2011 when HJR-6 passed with its incredibly poorly worded second sentence, there were a handful of Democrats that supported it.  This time, there was one.  Senator Richard Young of Milltown is the only Democrat to support HJR-3 in the General Assembly.  Of the 31 Democrats in the House and the 13 Democrats in the Senate, Young was the only aye.

Now, that's a step forward in itself, but Young's vote still remains symbolic.  In case you don't know Richard Young, the longtime Senator led the Democratic caucus from 1996-2008.  He carries the title Democratic Leader Emeritus.  Young ran for Governor briefly in 2008.

The Democratic Party is a big tent.  After all, we have room for Nancy Pelosi and Joe Donnelly.  Even Joe Donnelly realized that his position on same sex marriage had to change not only because of politics but because it was the right thing to do.  Senator Young has yet to provide any explanation for his vote.

I think those of us that might directly be effected by HJR3 should at least get some idea as to why the Democratic Leader Emeritus of the Indiana Senate didn't do what the other Democrats in the House and Senate did and vote NO on HJR-3.

Senator Young, we're waiting.


Anonymous said...

People should realize the political realities that Senator Young faces in southern Indiana. Does anyone think his Republican opponent this year would vote in Freedom Indiana's favor? No way. Senator Young already made it known he would have voted down the motion to reinstert the civil union language. Since passage of HJR3 still doesn't allow it onto the ballot Sen. Young's vote isn't impactful afterall. Perhaps Marion County people should stop focusing on southern Democrats and fix their own issues- find a candidate that can beat Mayor Ballard and figure out why Marion County can't elect more Democrat Senators than Republican ones.

johnnystir . said...

I don't care the challenge Senator Young faces in southern Indiana. What if his Republican opposition down there are to his left?

I guess this is what happens when you get entrenched in your job for too long. You forget about what's right and vote for your own preservation.

Maybe if all Democrats thought about what it means to be a Democrat we wouldn't have this discussion right now...especially when people's rights are on the line.

Nope. I reject your, "he's in a tough district" crap. This is Frank O'Bannon's old district. As a guy who tried to take on Frank's legacy in 2008, I find Senator Young coming up far short.