Indiana GOP platform keeps marriage between man and woman

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana Republican Party activists overwhelmingly voted Saturday to reaffirm language first inserted in their platform when Vice President Mike Pence was governor that defines marriage as a union “between a man and a woman.”

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported that delegates to the party’s biennial state convention chose the existing plank in its party platform over one floated by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s hand-picked party chairman that was intended to be more inclusive of same-sex couples.

Chairman Kyle Hupfer’s proposal would have recognized a variety of families, including “all loving adults” rearing children.

The vote was a victory for Pence-era social conservatives who inserted the affirmation of what they call a “traditional family” into the platform in 2014, when he was governor.

Daniel Elliot, the Morgan County GOP chairman and leader of the Republican Victory Committee that pushed the issue, said that endorsing the idea of marriage between a man and woman was key to the philosophy of “Hoosier Republicans.”

“This language ... recognizes the reality on the ground that most families are headed by married couples,” Elliot said.

But Porter County Republican Chairman Michael Simpson advocated for the alternative, which read, "''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.”

In a floor speech, Simpson argued that a broader definition of family ""is the best platform for our party and the best way for us to grow.”

After the vote, Simpson said he accepts the outcome but said he and others will “keep encouraging all people” to join the party.

Indiana’s Stonewall Democrats, a group within the party that advocates for the LGBTQ community, said the platform decision was a “throwback” to previous battles in Indiana over a law that gay rights organizations said allowed religious groups to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The group noted that the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal nearly three years ago.

“Indiana Republicans seem determined to live in denial of the basic constitutional rights granted to all Hoosiers,” the group said.

The floor fight over marriage was the state party’s third in three conventions, but Hupfer, who toned down his advocacy for change in the last few days as conservative backlash grew, said the GOP remains united and will continue to discuss the issue.

“It’s been a good experience for our party,” said Hupfer. “We’ve shown that we’re open to varying views within the party.”