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Indiana

Ind. speaker ready to change committee in order to advance gay marriage ban

Sunday, January 19, 2014
Michael Conroy, APBrian Bosma

Michael Conroy, AP
Brian Bosma

INDIANAPOLIS — House Speaker Brian Bosma has spent months working behind the scenes to approve an amendment banning gay marriage while publicly keeping the measure at arm’s length, promising that it would run its normal democratic course in the Statehouse.

Until last week.

Bosma’s public revelation that he was ready to change the makeup of the House Judiciary Committee in order to advance the measure showed just how much pressure is being applied outside the public eye to ensure the proposed ban advances.

Bosma has spent hours inside private meetings of the Republican caucus pushing the amendment. Routine meetings of House committees have been thrown off track as rank-and-file Republicans have tried to figure out when the marriage debate would hit the full House.

The first hint that things might not go according to plan came last Monday, after the House Judiciary Committee heard close to four hours of testimony. Committee Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, ended the committee without holding a planned vote, amid speculation that a handful of wavering Republicans could spike the measure.

The prospect that the amendment might be defeated inside a single House committee finally drew Bosma out into the spotlight.

“I’ve said one person shouldn’t make the decision; we’ve got to figure out if a couple people ought to make the decision for all Hoosiers,” Bosma told The Times in Munster last week. “The speaker, of course, has the power to move bills and has complete autonomy over committee membership.”

Legislative leaders of any chamber in any state have many tricks at their disposal when they want to advance priorities. Procedure and rules allow them to do all but stop time and space. In some cases on the final day of session, presiding officers have been known to physically stop clocks on chamber walls to pass final measures, even as actual time ticked on.

Indiana speakers of both parties have been known to use some creative tactics to win important votes. Then-Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, drew howls of protest from Republicans in February 2004 when he recorded a vote by then-Rep. Tom Kromkowski, D-South Bend, in favor of full-day kindergarten. Kromkowski was miles away from the Statehouse, recuperating from heart bypass surgery.

Facing pressure from universities, businesses and other opponents, Bosma has repeatedly said he doesn’t think that “one person, one university president, or one person in the board room of a corporation” should decide whether to amend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage into the constitution.

But his statement that he was willing to substitute members of the judiciary committee was stunning proof of how much power Indiana’s speaker would consider exercising.

His more assertive public stance is hardly news to the members of the House Republican Caucus, which has been consumed by the issue since the start of the session.

Meetings of the caucus — routine and private affairs where most of the toughest decisions are made before lawmakers return to public view — have become incredibly tense, according to a person with direct knowledge of the meetings who spoke on condition of anonymity because of their private nature.

Last week’s public statements began to match the actions of a man who has shown an intense interest in the amendment. Before he ever floated the idea of switching out uncooperative committee members, Bosma announced the creation of a companion measure designed to assuage concerns over the expansiveness of the ban.

The odd tactic — adding a statutory measure designed to explain what lawmakers mean inside — had legal scholars pondering just how a state law would trump a judge’s potential interpretation and application of constitutional language.

And while Republican lawmakers were locked inside a Statehouse room debating the amendment, Bosma and his political team circulated a Republican poll showing public support for the amendment. (Perhaps more importantly, the poll showed few electoral repercussions for lawmakers if they appeared on the ballot with the amendment in November.)

Finally came the proclamation that Bosma would look at removing committee members.

House lawmakers are expected to resume their private deliberations when they return Tuesday, with the possibility of a vote later in the week.

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98 more reader comments:

  1. When can we start suing these jerks for masking government money

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:40am
  2. Wasting government money.

    Replied on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:44am
  3. There is no government money, only taxpayer money.

    Replied on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:03am
  4. i would love to see him try he could be voted out by the younger people

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:41am
  5. doucebag alert

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:41am
  6. bully

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:42am
  7. He will fail. They all fail in the end.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:42am
  8. I want to punch his face.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:42am
  9. John Atchley & Garrett Piersa

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:43am
  10. If you don’t play by my rules I am going to take my ball and go home. BABY

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:44am
  11. I really wish people would just drop this whole gay marriage thing…just let them get married and stop making a damn hollywood production out of it. Its…just…marriage…god.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:45am
  12. Their getting desperate.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:46am
  13. Go for the Gold Standard in bigotry and hate Indiana!!! Not even NC can match your vitriol and homophobia! Soon enough you will have just the narrow mined and intolerant bible thumpers. People and companies will leave the state and others will cancel plans to open up there! You win!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:48am
  14. Eli Lilly Pharm and Cummins Engines have already made it known they support gay rights and want equality in Indiana. The last thing those politicians need to do is piss off huge employers like that just because of their own personal views and bigotry. Indiana has always been a strict conservative state to a sickening degree.

    Replied on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:11am
  15. All I can say is WTF? So one person shouldn’t decide it. Interesting.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:48am
  16. Typically Republican. When losing, change the rules. Move the goal posts. Lie. Cheat. Obstruct.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:50am
  17. These guys exert soooo much time and energy just to be hateful .

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:51am
  18. Soon you will be definite fly over territory between California and New York. Perhaps you can petition to join Russia and Putin!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:53am
  19. They have to proceed, they need their “out”, that’s why they will(Mark my words well)manage to get it on the balot regardless, it will be passed, it will become law, and then it will be Overturned. That’s the only way these thumpers would let a gay couple marry here. Don’t forget, Indiana is the place that tried to chase Ryan White out of school because he had HIV. The hatred in this place runs very deep.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:54am
  20. Asshole

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:55am
  21. This should be illegal!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:56am
  22. These people make me puke

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:56am
  23. So again I thought by electing lawmaker’s there suppose to be law of all tax paying people and under the state law if LGBT are paying where the fair to that AGAIN that’s not fair for the hard working law biding citizens to be forced under the law to pay taxes without full equal rights AGAIN if he want’s to be A BIGOT OR A ASS MUNCH then he need’s to step down if he can not be fair to LGBT citizens that pay taxes they need leader’s who GIVES ALL CITIZENS EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:58am
  24. Removing committee members to replace them with ones that’ll vote the way he wants them too should be illegal. Otherwise whats the damn point of elections?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:58am
  25. Let’s petition and get rid of these assholes.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:59am
  26. Someone want to take this guy out?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:59am
  27. All of them have already stated their stance on the issue. All he has to do is appoint members to the committe that side the way he wants them to so the committe reaches the decision outcome he wants them to. That would be like if we appointed ALL NEW Supreme Court Justices for EVERY Case. Biased much?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12:59am
  28. Here in Indy, and in Bloomington are the only blue spots in this state. The rest is Hoosierstan. :/

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:01am
  29. what an A-hole… may he RIP soon…

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:05am
  30. I am so sick of politicians- local and federal.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:05am
  31. This kind of thing makes me cRaZy: Can’t these guys find something important to work on? And let people find happiness in their own way.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:06am
  32. He will fail, something bad will happen to him.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:09am
  33. Him and gov christie must be pals, theyre both bullies

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:12am
  34. What a piece of slime. They just don’t get it. No matter what they do, sooner or later it’s going to be legal throughout the entire country.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:12am
  35. We have unemployed and infrastructure problems and this is what this bigot monster hater homophobe works on he is an imbecile. Vote him out office he is wasting tax money.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:14am
  36. all state bans are unconstitutional….this human turd needs to be flushed.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:23am
  37. Let him try it too will get struck down as unconstitutional

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:23am
  38. So embarrassed to live in Indiana. It doesn’t seem to matter to the idiots in our legislature all the big businesses and colleges and such that have banded together to oppose the ban! What a waste of time and taxpayer money.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:25am
  39. Such bullshit

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:27am
  40. One of the many many reasons to vote straight line Democrat. Given the Republicans redistricting and various voter suppression tactics, make sure your vote is counted!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:29am
  41. this pandering to a fringe minority, the extreme religious right is such a waste of tax payer dollars and a losing strategy. Republicide.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:37am
  42. Stay classy, Indiana…

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:38am
  43. Land of Tyranny…

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:49am
  44. What? So it can be overturned? They are wasting taxpayer’s time and money.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:53am
  45. This is not governing! This is a gang rape of constitution.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:59am
  46. WTF????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:01am
  47. It’s good to know things are going so well in America you can afford to pay huge amounts of money to this dickbag to advance his bigotry. Good job!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:07am
  48. Why are they bothering? Didn’t the idaho ruling signal that they have already lost?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:10am
  49. Snake in the grass!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:15am
  50. These politicians need to concentrate more on helping people then on taking away freedoms. Wasting time and money just to stop some people from getting married is truly pathetic. WHO THE FUCK CARES IS BOB AND JOE GETS MARRIED. This administration needs to focus on the economy and helping their constituents.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:26am
  51. I could care less about who this speaker is sleeping with or who he is married to. Some dumbass politician wasting taxpayers money.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:28am
  52. Desperate much? I hope he does and when he looses he goes wtf.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:28am
  53. Follow the money…??

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:34am
  54. Can you enable photo comments on your page, please?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:39am
  55. Loser!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:40am
  56. People like this guy are just like Putin.All they care about is money-power and themselves

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:43am
  57. Just so supreme court can rule it void and uncostitutional

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:49am
  58. The Hate Parade

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:58am
  59. One legal challenge to any such law and it will be invalidated by the Federal courts!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:02am
  60. anything to try and get votes even at the great expense of the people they hurt. these guys have no moral fabric whatsoever it’s a shame he is allowed to hold a such a position . instead of doing good to gain votes he choses to try and do more harm . when there are some many things like education , infrastructure , jobs , poverty , mental health issues and this is what they do ! get rid of him and anyone that agrees with this low life.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:07am
  61. When they cannot get what they want one way, they will get it another. I hope the people of Indiana are watching!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:10am
  62. Grinch!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:10am
  63. That’s Republicans! They do what ever they wants, even if it’s illegal.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:11am
  64. Corruption!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:11am
  65. It’s nice to have reached a point where if people do nothing we will succeed and if they fight us, we will succeed. We are at a point where every move they make helps us! O:) <3

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:12am
  66. they are messing with- the persons right to persue happiness

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:25am
  67. Insensitive and, to me, quite evil.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:30am
  68. I hope the Lawyers are standing by and taking detailed notes for the Legal challenge . Because this is the biggest abuse of power I have ever seen. Does he communicate with NJ Governor?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:38am
  69. Yes, this should be illegal; using state resources for this?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:39am
  70. He’s already lost! He is fighting a battle that was over last year!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:43am
  71. What about what the Bible says about divorce? or are you just going to ignore that one?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:54am
  72. Dang !!! I love Republicults … in State or Fed. offices … they just keep giving and giving ….. LMAO!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 4:20am
  73. How sad. He knows he’s losing and has reverted to threats to try to get his way.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 4:21am
  74. So it scares him so much to see two people of the same sex find happiness and life together in his state. So he has to stack the deck in order to try and keep the contents of “Pandora’s Box” from coming out. Maybe not this week , sir, but the battle is already lost and you are cluesss to it.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 4:34am
  75. what a fucking cock wipe

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 4:35am
  76. Sheesh get him out of office!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 4:36am
  77. What IS it with all these pretty Bears and otters being such ‘phobes? ;)

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:22am
  78. I’m a lesbian living in Indiana, and this makes me sick. And sad. To think that my being able to legally marry my wife of 16 years seems to be a larger issue than the state of poverty and education.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:25am
  79. By threatening to replace committee members who won’t vote for the bill, Bosma is engaging in coercion which he should know is a class C felony.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:58am
  80. typical

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:18am
  81. It amazes me how many of these idiots are wasting taxpayer money on non-issues such as this instead of issues that truly impact their constituency. It’s a big smoke-and mirrors show as if they are saying “Hey, we haven’t got a clue how to fix any real problems, so we are just gonna misdirect you with this BS !”

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:27am
  82. looks like a closeted guy on the dl

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:42am
  83. One can only hope!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:47am
  84. I live in Indiana & they need to come off the stupid law.. men/women all deserve the same rights… I am a straight mother of a 16yr old gay son, he deserves along with everyone else, the same rights.. I will see him married one day & I’ll be right there by his side when he starts a family too!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 7:17am
  85. he’s crazy

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 7:53am
  86. I think it is important to remember that the states that passed the amendment are seeing it over turned in the courts. This is just another attempt to accomplish the same goal and will face the same outcome. Lets keep it simple, legalize marraige equality, start collecting the licensing fees, and don’t cost the tax payers millions for legiislation that no one wants.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 9:32am
  87. I sure hope he succeeds

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 9:56am
  88. Whats wrong with these people?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 11:12am
  89. It’s Indiana. Something in the water makes most of those downstaters just plain stupid. Can’t buy alcohol on Sunday either! Incredibly backwards. Will never attract the kind of industry needed for jobs. Boeing won’t build a plant here because of this stupidity.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 11:29am
  90. Fucking niggers. Niggers are slaves. Go work on plantation niggers

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 11:46am
  91. 14th Amendment. Eventual end of story. Politicos like Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma will find themselves vilified by history for their blatant bigotry, and deservedly so.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 11:59am
  92. remove him and charge him with terriostism towards gay people

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:26pm
  93. give up the ghost you nay sayers and get in the 21st century, or get left behind!!!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:27pm
  94. All this money and time spent on denying tax paying citizens equal rights. Shame on them!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 1:53pm
  95. So if he can’t win properly, he’s going to change the players? What a pathetic, childish little tool.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:19pm
  96. IGNORANT PEOPLE Do IGNORANT THINGS because of WHO they are.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:46pm
  97. invite this man into the year 2014.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:30pm
  98. Asshat.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 3:37pm