INDIANAPOLIS — Gay marriage is an issue that never seems to die in Indiana politics.
The most recent battle is being played out inside the Republican Party, as delegates to the party's upcoming convention ponder whether the GOP platform should support defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The platform-writing committee raised the issue last week after it voted to include language saying that marriage between one man and one woman is essential for supporting the development of society. The question will now go to the roughly 1,700 delegates scheduled to attend the convention in Fort Wayne next month.
For Hoosier politicos, it's an issue that just keeps cropping up.
Before the party platform fight, conservative Republicans used the issue to oust two incumbent Republicans in primary elections earlier this month. And just a few months before that, state lawmakers waged the premier battle in the Indiana General Assembly. They could have largely settled the issue, but instead delayed any clear answers until 2016, and possibly longer.
When state lawmakers convened for their 2014 session in January, the proposal to write Indiana's existing gay marriage ban into the state Constitution quickly dominated debate. Hours of testimony in House and Senate hearings were matched by daily protests at the Statehouse from supporters and opponents of the ban.
Jim Bopp, the Terre Haute attorney who first suggested adding the marriage clause to the party platform two weeks ago, said he sees broad support for his position. He notes that while lawmakers effectively kept the issue from the ballot this year, many of their public statements focused on concerns with banning civil unions but did not deal with the core issue of marriage.
"I understand there were some active efforts in the last legislative session against the constitutional amendment, but it mainly focused on the second sentence (of the proposal), which dealt with civil unions. When you got down to it, it was less than 10 percent of lawmakers that opposed it," Bopp said of placing the ban in the Constitution.