As a representative serving in Congress, Mike Pence was a strong advocate for a constitutional same-sex marriage ban.
Earlier this year, as governor of Indiana, Pence repeated his support for “traditional marriage” and urged legislators to act on a state ban on gay marriage.
But in recent months, as gay marriage has become a rapidly developing issue in the Hoosier state, Pence, mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, seems to want to have it both ways.
Never was that more clear than when Pence requested to be removed as a party in a gay marriage lawsuit. His reasoning? He could not enforce the state’s ban.
But after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Judge Richard Young’s order striking down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, Pence issued memos directing executive branch agencies to disregard Young’s ruling.
In other words, he did what he previously insisted he could not.
That contradiction recently drew a rebuke from Young, who had granted in favor of Pence in that earlier decision. In his ruling on the last remaining same-sex case in Indiana, Bowling v. Pence, Young took Pence to task for his reversal: “The court, after witnessing the Governor do what he claimed he could not do, reverses course and finds him to be a proper party to such lawsuits. The court wishes to reiterate that it finds the Governor’s prior representations contradicting such authority to be, at a minimum, troubling.”
What’s troubling about the governor’s recent moves regarding gay marriage has nothing to do with his actual position on the issue. It’s the contradictions, which seem motivated by political consideration rather than real conviction.
A recent Associated Press article noting Pence’s careful dancing around the issue is a contrast to the man who earned a reputation as a conservative firebrand.
For Hoosiers, the issue of same-sex marriage evokes a deep sense — on both sides — of what’s right. They deserve a governor who is driven by nothing less than that.
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