Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

June 6, 2014

The marriage debate heads for Indiana Republicans

NASHVILLE, Indiana – Sometime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. this Saturday in Fort Wayne, the Indiana Republicans will chart a course that could impact their position as Indiana’s super majority party.

The supposed 1,775 delegates (not all will show up) will make a determination on whether the party’s 2014 platform addresses the constitutional marriage amendment, and it will choose a state treasurer nominee who could expose the various fissures – Tea Party, establishment, money wings – of the party.

While the treasurer floor fight among Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, Don Bates Jr., and Kelly Mitchell has been the long-anticipated event for the Indiana Republican Convention, it is the platform, normally an obscure, rote exercise that rarely influences voters, that could define Hoosier Republicans for the next several years. In 2012, neither Indiana Republicans nor Democrats took a platform stance on the marriage issue.

The Republican platform committee did not take a formal vote, with some suggesting the panel headed by Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann was split, which sources tell Howey Politics Indiana could force the issue to the Resolutions Committee. It would then go to the delegates for an up or down floor vote coming shortly after the convention is gaveled into session at 10 a.m. Family advocates such as Curt Smith, Micah Clark and Jim Bopp Jr., have relentlessly pursued Platform and now Resolution Committee members to include a stance on the marriage issue.

It will come less than 18 hours after Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus addresses the opening session on Friday night, and a little more than a year after Priebus issued a starkly candid and brutal assessment of the party, after its stunning 2012 election in which it lost the White House and failed to take the U.S. Senate. This was partly due to the implosion of Indiana nominee Richard Mourdock and other Tea Party nominees over the past two cycles in Missouri, Nevada, Colorado and Delaware.

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