Pelath said he had sympathy for House Speaker Brian Bosma, who has caucus members who fear they may be “primaried” – targeted for defeat by a fellow Republican in the next election, if they oppose HJR-6.
“I’m with him in understanding the difficulty of the issue,” Pelath said. When Democrats controlled the House, Pelath said he moved to kill HJR-6 three times. “I did it and lived to tell about it,” Pelath said. “He can do it and live to tell about it, too.”
GOP leaders are also under increasing pressure from the business community, higher education leaders, and some religious leaders who argue that HJR-6 harms Indiana’s “Hoosier Hospitality” image, especially with young people and outsiders.
For their part, Republican leaders have acknowledged recent independent polls that show increasing opposition to HJR-6, but say they won’t dictate to their members how to vote.
From the House floor Tuesday, Bosma promised the debate on the amendment would be civil. “We will do so with the recognition of the dignity of every Hoosier in here and elsewhere and also respecting each other’s strongly held positions,” Bosma said, before borrowing a phrase from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “We need to discuss the issue with malice toward none and charity toward all.”
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org