Republicans are pulling a bill that would have raised Indiana’s minimum marriage age from 15 because a Democratic proposal to repeal the state’s ban on marriage equality got attached.
According to the AP, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) refused to call the marriage bill to the floor after it came to light that Indiana Rep. Matt Pierce (D) wanted to propose an amendment to end the state’s same-sex marriage ban, which was already declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
As such, the bill was not filed in time to meet a Thursday deadline, which, WOWO explains, means it cannot be called again until next year.
Bosma blamed the missed deadline on the threat of Pierce’s potential amendment.
He called Pierce’s proposal “political” and told reporters he felt that even the possibility that the state house would debate the marriage equality proposal was enough to scrap the entire bill.
The marriage equality amendment “wasn’t just to eliminate obsolete language,” Bosma said. “This was to have a big knockdown, drag-out discussion about it on the floor. That just isn’t productive.”
Pierce was surprised at the backlash. “I did not think it was unreasonable to remove what is now null-and-void constitutional language from the code,” he said.
“I didn’t think it would be that controversial because this issue has been settled now. Apparently to the Republican caucus it is controversial.”
Nevertheless, Pierce had no intention of derailing the marriage bill and said he knows it is a crucial step for Democrats in the fight against child trafficking.
Pierce said he made it clear to both Bosma and bill sponsor Indiana Rep. Karen Engleman (R) that he would not propose overturning the same-sex marriage ban as an amendment.
Bosma claims that wasn’t made clear. He also says he plans to find another bill in which to include the marriage language.
Right now, children as young as fifteen can legally marry in Indiana as long as they have parental consent.
Before voting in favor of the bill, a House committee heard stories from women who said at fifteen and sixteen, their parents forced them into marrying men who had molested or raped them.
The new law would raise the minimum age of marriage to eighteen, with the exception of seventeen year olds who have permission from a judge and who are marrying someone between the ages of 17 and 21.
In 2018, Delaware and New Jersey became the first two states to ban marriage for people under the age of 18 without exception.