“Six months ago, if you’d said lawmakers would refuse to put this issue on the ballot in 2014 by stripping out the deeply flawed second sentence, I’d have said there’s no way,” said Megan Robertson, Freedom Indiana campaign manager and a veteran Indiana Republican operative.
Supporters expressed anger with Senate Republicans following Thursday’s action. Kellie Fiedorek, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, said residents would likely be angry with lawmakers for depriving them a chance to vote on the marriage ban.
“I think there are a lot of folks who are very upset with how their representatives have acted and how they basically betrayed them and went back on promises to vote for marriage and give them the opportunity to vote this year,” Fiedorek said.
The author of a proposal that would have restored the civil unions ban bemoaned the fact that he could not find enough support among Republicans. Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, wrote on Twitter that the “second sentence is officially dead” for the year.
When the constitutional ban came up for consideration Thursday, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann — who presides over the Senate — asked lawmakers if they had any amendments. The Senate chamber was silent, as were hundreds of activists just outside the chamber who had been chanting and singing just minutes earlier.
Ellspermann then acknowledged she’d heard no amendments to the measure, and declared it ready for a final vote. Thursday was the last day lawmakers could have altered the measure and put it back on track for the November ballot.
Delph later said he did not seek a vote on restoring the “second sentence” language because he knew it would fail.
Supporters of the ban say it is needed to prevent courts from overturning Indiana’s law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. But they struggled to find their footing after House lawmakers stripped the civil unions language.
Pence lobbied for a November vote on the ban in his State of the State address and at a rally of ban supporters, but he later said he was removing himself from the legislative debate.