The Indiana House of Representatives passed a marriage discrimination amendment yesterday afternoon after only a half an hour of debate. The bipartisan vote of 70-26 took marriage equality supporters by surprise - especially with the defection of Minority Leader Pat Bauer.
In previous sessions Bauer, as Speaker of the House, killed the amendment in committee. The rumor mill says that Bauer and several Democrats defected after Republicans threatened to redraw their political districts to favor the GOP. Redistricting will happen this year and Republicans control both chambers of the Statehouse and the Governor's office.
"The basic unit of society is the family, and the cornerstone of the family is marriage. Marriage is, and should be, the union of one man and one woman," said the gay marriage ban's author, Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion.
Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, D-Indianapolis, called the ban "a blow that hurts thousands across this great state, and taints our constitution with the language of hate," and said she has friends and neighbors who are "deeply, deeply hurt by this legislation."
Bauer won an award from the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 2005 for working against a marriage amendment. I wonder if he'll return it now.
Sullivan, on the other hand, wrote her comments as a Valentine's Day poem since the vote was originally scheduled for the 14th. She unabashedly supports marriage equality and was recently targeted by the Democrats for being too progressive instead of towing the conservative party leaders' line. You can donate to her campaign here to help keep a real ally in office. Her Valentine is after the jump.