After the Indiana House of Representatives Judiciary Committee failed to advance a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, Republican Speaker of the House Brian Bosma let it leak that he might take unprecedented measures to ensure the bill passed. Today, he did just that.
In a surprise move, the Judiciary Committee didn't vote at the conclusion of over three hours of testimony last week. Instead, word leaked out that up to three Republican members were seriously considering joining Democrats to defeat the measure. The vote had been canceled because Republicans weren't certain they had the votes. Over the weekend, Bosma told the media he was considering replacing the recalcitrant committee members with new ones he'd hand selected.
Today, Bosma transferred the bill out of the Judiciary Committee and into the Elections and Apportionment Committee - a panel that wouldn't normally hear a bill like this. Trying to justify his actions, he told the Indianapolis Star, "I said early on I was not going to ask somebody to vote in accordance with what I wanted but with what they wanted, I stuck with that. I believe this is the best course to proceed."
In an emailed statement, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody denounced the maneuver, saying "The Speaker and Governor Pence evidently believe Hoosiers deserve to vote on HJR-3 - unless those Hoosiers are certain members of the Indiana General Assembly."
"Just when we thought the Republican leadership at the Statehouse couldn't try anything else to push their divisive and unfocused agenda, today Speaker Brian Bosma just changed the rules of the game to favor it," he said. "By disregarding the process the House Judiciary Committee went through to deliberate on HJR-3 and by not allowing a vote to take place, the Speaker has decided to committee 'surf' until he finds a committee that will do what he wants it to do. Evidently he's found that."
Andrew Markle, a gay Republican running for state representative, announced on Facebook that he was immediately ending his campaign and quitting the Republican Party.
With today's announcement by House Speaker Brian Bosma, that he is using extraordinary and unprecedented rules to change House Joint Resolution 3's committee assignment, I have no choice but to resign my candidacy as a Republican.
As an openly gay male and a conservative, I find it deplorable that the state would choose to take such extraordinary measures to disenfranchise me and my fellow LGBT brothers and sisters. In an era where my party declared that it was the party of "small government" and "less intrusion", it has been confirmed that it is not the party of small government or less intrusion.
I am not leaving the Republican Party; the Republican Party has left me.