Pharos-Tribune

State News

December 13, 2012

Support for gay-marriage ban wavering

Powerful Indiana Republican Kenley changes his stance

INDIANAPOLIS — The last time the Indiana General Assembly took up the issue of putting a same-sex marriage ban into the state Constitution, state Sen. Luke Kenley voted for it.

But he’s not going to make that choice again.

Noting what he called the “rapidly evolving” shift in public opinion reflected in a poll released Thursday, the influential, conservative Republican said he’ll oppose such a measure if, as expected, it comes up for debate in the 2013 session.

“I don’t think putting it in the Constitution is a good idea,” said Kenley, the powerful Senate appropriations committee chairman who describes himself as a supporter of traditional marriage.

“I really value the institution of heterosexual marriage,” Kenley said. “But I do not think that putting a statement in the (state) Constitution which runs down or is bigoted toward people who have a different kind of loving relationship, that I may not understand, is going to be productive.”

Kenley weighed in on the issue Thursday during a break in a legislative preview conference in Indianapolis. Earlier in the day, conference attendees heard the results of a new poll that shows most Hoosiers hold views like Kenley: While most aren’t ready to legalize same-sex marriage, they also don’t want to amend Indiana’s Constitution to ban it.

The 2012 Hoosier Survey poll found Indiana residents are evenly divided (45 percent for, 45 percent against) on the question of legalizing same-sex marriage. But 54 percent of those surveyed oppose changing the state’s Constitution to bar gay couples from marrying, while 38 percent support it.

Ball State political scientist Joe Losco, who presented the poll results, said Kenley’s shift on the issue is significant, given his prominence in the Statehouse.

“Political scientists know when the ‘elite’ opinion starts to change in one direction, mass opinion is not far behind,” Losco said. “In a year when the president supports same-sex marriage and wins by a convincing margin, especially among young people, it’s not surprising that it has ramifications throughout the political system.”

Kenley is in no way ready to legalize same-sex marriage, which is banned by law in Indiana. But he is ready to put a stop to a process that started in 2011. That’s when the Legislature voted overwhelming for a proposed constitutional amendment that bans both same-sex marriage and prohibits civil unions.

That vote was just the first step: To amend the Constitution, the Legislature must vote to approve the identical language again in the 2013 or 2014 legislative sessions, then send the issue to voters in the 2014 general election.

Only one Republican in the GOP-controlled General Assembly voted no on the measure during that 2011 vote: state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany.

Clere, who continues to oppose the measure for a long list of reasons, said he won’t be the only Republican to vote against it the next time. “Clearly, a shift has occurred,” he said.

Clere said he’s been approached by state lawmakers who voted for the constitutional ban in 2011 but are now wavering in their support.

Some want to wait on the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently announced it will take up the issue, looking at both the constitutionality of a federal law that bans gay marriage and California’s decision to put a ban on same-sex marriage in that state’s Constitution.

But also prompting their concern is how the issue may conflict with the Republicans’ promise to focus this next session on boosting Indiana’s economy. Several prominent Indiana-based companies — including pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and engines-maker Cummins Inc — oppose the measure. They say it hurts the ability of Indiana businesses to recruit top talent and sends a message that the state is an intolerant place to work and live.

“We’re still recovering from a prolonged economic recession,” Clere said. “To the extent that action on the marriage amendment could have a negative impact on economic development and job creation activities, it’s the wrong time to bring it up.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Warsaw man gets 120-year sentence in tire iron beating GOSHEN (AP) — A northern Indiana man has been sentenced to 120 years in prison for beating an 82-year-old man with a tire iron during a home invasion. An Elkhart County judge ordered the sentence Thursday for 26-year-old Jeffery Hunt of Warsaw after

    August 1, 2014

  • Semi crash coats I-465 lanes with spilled butter INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A semitrailer overturned on Interstate 465 in Indianapolis, spilling what police say are 45,000 pounds of packages of butter and other dairy products. The crash happened about 3:30 a.m. Friday in the eastbound lanes of I-465 just

    August 1, 2014

  • Indiana State Fair gets underway for 17-day run INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana State Fair is getting underway with its usual confections and hearty treats as well as alcoholic drinks for the first time in nearly 70 years. Friday's start of the fair also marks the return of paid concerts in the fa

    August 1, 2014

  • Carmel mayor uses social media to promote businesses along U.S. 31 CARMEL (AP) — Indianapolis-area restaurant and shop owners say business is down significantly as construction continues along U.S. 31. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard on Thursday asked residents to eat and shop at businesses along U.S. 31 every day in Augu

    August 1, 2014

  • Murder charge filed in missing Shelbyville woman case SHELBYVILLE (AP) — The former boyfriend of a missing central Indiana woman has told police he struck and strangled her and buried her body. A probable cause affidavit filed in Shelby Superior Court on Thursday says 46-year-old Scott Schuck confessed

    August 1, 2014

  • Notre Dame might appeal case to US Supreme Court SOUTH BEND (AP) — The University of Notre Dame might appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in its challenge to part of the federal health care law that forces it to cover contraceptives in its health insurance for students and employees. Recently filed co

    August 1, 2014

  • Indy man gets 33 years for heroin, gun convictions INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man convicted on 20 gun- and heroin-related counts has been sentenced to more than 33 years in prison District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker handed down the sentence of 400 months in prison to 39-year-old Anthony

    August 1, 2014

  • Evansville councilwoman won't be prosecuted over recording EVANSVILLE (AP) — The head of Indiana's State Board of Accounts says he will limit the participation of local officials in reviewing audits reports after a prosecutor's decision that an Evansville city councilwoman didn't break the law by secretly re

    July 31, 2014

  • Man sentenced for 2003 Indiana bank shootout INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a 35-year prison sentence for a man convicted of shooting at a central Indiana police officer during a 2003 bank robbery. The sentence against 46-year-old Pascal Sylla comes after a jury convicted him i

    July 31, 2014

  • Teen charged in slaying of mom found dead in trunk GARY (AP) — A 17-year-old girl has been charged with murder in the death of her mother whose body was found in her car's trunk in a wooded area of Gary a few weeks ago. The charges filed by Lake County prosecutors on Wednesday follow the July 11 arre

    July 31, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.