Thursday, July 24, 2014


Kubacki (Photo Supplied)
Rep. Kubacki -- a target in the battle for votes in the same-sex marriage debate?
Posted on Jan. 14, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 14, 2014 at 11:12 a.m.

Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014

One seeming target in the battle for hearts and minds as wrangling over House Joint Resolution 3 continues will be Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, who serves part of Elkhart County.

The Republican from Syracuse voted for the predecessor legislation approved in 2011, House Joint Resolution 6, which passed that year 70-26. But when I spoke to her (among other lawmakers) earlier this month for an article previewing the legislative session she expressed mixed feelings over the issue.

  • Scroll down to see the Indiana House form documenting the roll call on HJR 6 in 2011

Here's how I characterized Kubacki's views in that Jan. 5 article:"Kubacki, who backs the notion of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, noted that Indiana law already defines marriage as such.

'I’m struggling with changing the constitution for something that’s already in state law,' she said. Moreover, changing the Constitution, she worries, could result in a legal challenge, requiring Indiana to spend money it doesn’t have to launch a defense."The mixed feelings of Kubacki, whose district includes part of southern Elkhart County, including Nappanee, are significant as foes and supporter of HJR 3 jockey for votes.

HJR 3, like HJR 6, calls for a public referendum in November on amending the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, effectively banning same-sex marriage. Per the formal amendment process, lawmakers must approve similar resolutions in two successive legislative sessions -- HJR 6 and HJR 3 in this case -- before the underlying question goes to voters, who have final say.

If HJR 3 doesn't pass muster this year -- the hope of foes -- the proposal fizzles and the same-sex marriage question fades away, at least for now.

Aside from Kubacki, those favoring HJR 6 in the Feb. 15, 2011, vote were Reps. Wes Culver, R-Goshen; Tim Neese, R-Elkhart; and Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, who all represent portions of Elkhart County. Culver, Neese and Wesco have all expressed continued support on the amendment question.

The three Indiana senators serving Elkhart County, Republicans Carlin Yoder, Joe Zakas and Ryan Mishler, backed HJR 6 in 2011, which passed 40-10 that year (here's the roll call form). Yoder and Zakas back HJR 3 this year, they've told me, while I've not spoken to Mishler.

HJR 3 OPPOSITION NOT INDICATIVE OF SUPPORT FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Three political scientists I spoke to Monday indicate the battle over HJR 3 this year will face a tougher time than HJR 6 did in 2011 due to shifting views on the same-sex marriage question. Look here.

Even if HJR 3 fizzles, though, that hardly translates into support for change permitting same-sex marriage here, they said. As Kubacki notes, state law still forbids gay marriage.

"I don't think that's going to happen in the near future," said St. Mary's College political scientist Sean Savage, alluding to the possibility of allowing gay marriage here.

Savage maintains that if same-sex marriage is ultimately permitted here, it won't be due to state legislation. It would more likely stem from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue, mandating as much in all states.

Joe Losco, chairman of the Ball State University Political Science Department, said if the same-sex marriage issue here does fizzle, it'd be more indicative of mixed public opinion, that the public wants "time to think it over."

Here's the 2011 roll call on the HJR 6 vote, indicating the favorable votes from Kubacki, Culver, Neese and Wesco:

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Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. Reach him at tvandenack@etruth.com or 574-296-5884. Visit him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.