INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Republican Party on Saturday will get a first-hand look at how deep the divide over marriage really is.
That's when GOP delegates from across the state will choose whether to remove language about marriage being between a man and a woman from the state party platform.
This comes after days of in-fighting over new proposed language on strong families. The latest high-profile Republican to add his name to a growing list of those seeking to retain the current language was House Speaker Brian Bosma.
Some of those are delegates that get to vote but many are not. There are 1,494 approved and credentialed delegates for the Evansville event.
There is a chasm in the party between those supporting traditional marriage between a man and a woman and others who want to be more inclusive now that same-sex marriage is legal.
Indiana Republican Party Kyle Hupfer announced late Tuesday – and made public Wednesday morning – that all delegates will get to vote to keep the 2016 language on marriage and families or adopt new language that eliminates mentioning marriage between a man and woman.
Without Hupfer's move, the efforts to return to the old language could have been avoided or quashed in a private committee meeting. His announcement ensures a direct public vote on the issue.
One person not getting involved in the debate is Gov. Eric Holcomb, the head of the Indiana Republican Party who tapped Hupfer to lead after Mike Pence left to serve as vice president.
“The Indiana Republican Party is big and diverse, with many different perspectives on issues we all care about,” Holcomb said in a prepared statement.
“The debate over the past week regarding this year's party platform only reinforces that fact. Ultimately, though, the process of adopting a platform will end the way it always ends, with the delegates who attend and participate making the final decision.”
Hupfer said the party has received hundreds of emails and calls about the issue, causing him to recommend a special process so that delegates get a choice between a platform that includes the 2016 language on strong families, and a document that includes the drafted 2018 language.
“Over the past couple of days, we have heard some concerns that delegates will not have the opportunity to vote to determine how the strong families section reads in the final platform,” he said in a letter to delegates. “Let me assure you: That's not how the process should be conducted, nor is that how it will be conducted. There will be a vote by delegates on this issue.”
2016 strong families language (with addition of single parents):
“We believe in strong families. We believe that strong families, based on marriage between a man and a woman, are the foundation of society. We also recognize that some families are much more diverse and we support the blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.”
2018 strong families language:
“We believe in strong families. We believe that strong families are the foundation of society and that such families bring forth citizens capable of self-government, as well as properly-motivated public servants so essential for a successful republic. We support traditional families with a mother and father, blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and all loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.”
Hupfer said the addition of “single parents” into the list of supported family types was universally backed during the 2018 platform committee process so it was added to the 2016 language as well.
“The platform process has once again allowed for our party to engage in insightful and meaningful debate about various elements of the platform. In the end, it is always the delegates, who represent hundreds of thousands of Republicans across the state, that have the final decision on the platform,” Hupfer said. “We will ensure that is the case on Saturday.”
Jim Bopp, a conservative attorney who has been leading an effort to retain the current language, said “while there are still some details to be worked out, we have told Chairman Hupfer that we think his plan would give the delegates a fair opportunity to choose whether to change the pro-marriage language in our current platform to the proposed language that would delete marriage entirely.”