Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

February 10, 2013

Maureen Hayden column: Gov. Pence tight-lipped on social issues

As a U.S. congressman, Mike Pence made it perfectly clear how he felt about the need for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

He was a sponsor and advocate for the failed Federal Marriage Amendment, arguing that the U.S. Constitution needed to define marriage as between a man and woman to protect the nation from “activist judges” willing to tear away at the fabric of society. (The fabric being the “traditional” family.)

In 2011, Pence was one of 82 House Republicans to co-sponsor a bill condemning the Obama administration’s decision to discontinue defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Known as DOMA, it’s a federal law that refuses federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married. DOMA’s constitutionality is being challenged in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

As a gubernatorial candidate last year, Pence declared his support for the effort to amend Indiana’s state constitution to lock in a ban against same-sex marriage and civil unions.

But last week, Gov. Pence stayed deep in the background when GOP leaders in the Statehouse decided to ignore the strong pleas of amendment proponents by stalling a vote that would have moved the measure forward this year.  

Their reasoning: It would be prudent to wait to see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer on two related cases involving same-sex marriage bans.

When questioned about Pence’s role in the decision to kill the vote this session, Senate President David Long told reporters: “The governor has not weighed in on this.”

Echoed House Speaker Brian Bosma: “Not in the least.”

That may seem surprising. Some of Pence’s strongest allies in the fight against same-sex marriage (including the American Family Association) have been pushing hard for Indiana lawmakers to vote on the amendment this session.

They argued that such a vote would send a strong message to the Supreme Court justices and affect their decision.  

That’s an argument that Long and Bosma, both self-proclaimed supporters of the amendment, discounted as “not credible.”

Pence may believe, as Long and Bosma reasoned, that waiting another year wouldn’t matter. If the court clears the way, the Indiana General Assembly could vote on the amendment in 2014 and — as required by Indiana law — put the question to voters on the November 2014 ballot.

For now, Pence has set aside his past role as advocate for the social conservative causes, and is trying to remake his image.

He’s sticking with the script he rolled out during the campaign: talking about his tax-cut proposal and his jobs- and education-focused “Roadmap for Indiana.” He’s resisted veering off that roadmap, despite efforts by reporters to draw him out on other issues.

During an informal meeting with Statehouse reporters last week, Pence made clear he won’t be weighing in any time soon on a number of issues: There’s a broad range of legislation he “won’t have anything to say about”, he said, until it reaches his desk, for the required signature to become law — or the veto to kill it.  

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks