By Erika Brock and Danielle Faczan - TheStatehouseFile.com
Although the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana was only briefly mentioned during Gov. Mike Pence’s State of the State address Tuesday night, the controversial measure was a key topic of discussion at the reactions given by both parties.
“He had one last opportunity to douse the flames of this marriage debate here in Indiana,” said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City.
His comments came only hours after a federal judge declared a similar amendment unconstitutional in Oklahoma.
But House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the ruling only makes an Indiana amendment more necessary.
“I think it underscores the concerns of those who believe that we have an intervention that’s judiciary, especially at the federal level, and that this is a decision that’s proper for the people and their representatives and not a single appointed judge,” Bosma said.
However Pelath said the marriage debate is a civil rights issue.
“We’re talking about equal protection under law and so it really does relate to a fundamental civil rights of an individual,” Pelath said.
Pelath also discussed Pence, who he said could be doing a much better job.
“Mike Pence believes the governor should do very little and he is succeeding,” Pelath said.
Pence said he wants to phase out the business personal property tax, but Pelath said he believes it would be a “jobless tax cut” that wouldn’t bring “one paying job to Indiana.”
Pelath went on to say that Pence’s “solutions” are not up to the tasks at hand.
“Mike Pence clearly looks like a governor, he has the soaring rhetoric of a governor, but, on a night like this I wonder if he really likes doing governor,” he said.
But President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said there are currently more positives than negatives in Indiana.
“While those who speak ill of this speech will do so maybe because it’s their job to do so, I also want to point out that there’s an awful lot of good going on in Indiana and I think the governor was emphasizing that in his speech tonight,” Long said.
“I think most troubling, is that while we understand that there are many great things about our state and we love our state, we don’t ever hear that our state can do much, much better and that we have real problems that deserve real solutions,” Pelath said.
Erika Brock and Danielle Faczan are reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.