Marriage activists busy before Indiana GOP meeting

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican activists on opposing
sides of the gay marriage debate have been treating the upcoming
Republican convention battle much like a hotly contested political
At question is whether the party’s platform, its
official statement of party values, should oppose gay marriage. The
fight to win over the roughly 1,700 Republican delegates to the
convention has been waged with the trappings of a professional campaign:
Postcards and fliers have been hitting mailboxes, and volunteers have
been calling delegates for close to two weeks now.
It’s nothing
close to the magnitude of the ballot fight that would have resulted if a
proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage had made it to this
November’s ballot. But the same groups that fought over the proposed ban
earlier this year have been treating the convention battle in a similar
Jim Bopp, a Terre Haute attorney who pushed to have the
marriage definition added to the platform, said he is confident the
marriage clause will make the cut this weekend.
"Nothing is ever a sure thing," he said. But "we feel good in terms of retaining it in the
first hurdle was last month, at a meeting where the party’s platform
committee approved the marriage definition being included in the
platform. The second hurdle will be a committee meeting Friday, where
changes to the platform will be considered. The final bar will be
consideration by all delegates at the convention during Saturday’s
daylong meeting.
Megan Robertson, a Republican delegate from
Marion County, is leading the fight against the marriage language. She
said Thursday that she had signed up 21 regional volunteers to try and
win support from delegates.
"You never know what’s going to happen
in these kinds of situations," she said. "I’m confident there are
number of delegates who don’t want to see this divisive language added
to our platform."
Robertson, a veteran Republican operative who
led the opposition to the proposed marriage ban earlier this year, said
she has been trying to ply delegates with testimonials from other
delegates who have signed on with them.
Her most recent mailer to
delegates quoted Cheryl Musgrave, a Vanderburgh County delegate, saying:
"Our party platform should have broad-based support and concentrate on
issues involving lower taxes and smaller government. I don’t believe the
marriage debate is an appropriate thing for a party platform to be
But supporters of the marriage language have been
pressing as well. The leaders of the Indiana Family Institute, which
fought unsuccessfully for the proposed constitutional ban this session,
sent a mailed flier to delegates.
Bopp, meanwhile, forwarded an
email from Rush County Republican Chairman Michael Dora, the author of
the marriage language, calling the proposal a compromise designed to
please most Republicans. In the email, Dora recounted the events of the
platform committee’s final meeting, when it voted to accept the marriage
"What happened on that day is called ‘give and take’ or just an old fashioned compromise," Dora
Republican Party convention opens Friday in Fort Wayne and will
continue all day Saturday. In addition to the marriage battle, Delegates
are bracing for a bruising fight over the treasurer’s nomination
between three candidates: financial adviser Don Bates, treasurer’s
office staffer Kelly Mitchell and Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold.