Indiana house Republicans said Monday they would try a little-used procedure in hopes of forcing the full house to hear and perhaps vote on a proposal that would amend the Indiana constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Chances of such a "blast motion" succeeding seemed slim, since Democrats control the chamber 51-49. It would take 51 votes to override the wishes of Democratic house speaker Patrick Bauer.
Bauer has repeatedly turned down requests from Republicans to send the proposal to committee, which would give it a chance to make it to the house floor. A handful of Democrats and all 49 Republicans have signed a petition in support of amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. But it seems unlikely any of the Democrats would defy their leader on a procedural vote to override his authority. Bauer has called the proposal--which passed the Republican-controlled senate--a diversion from other pressing matters and says it is unnecessary because Indiana already has a statute banning gay marriage. That law is being challenged in a case now before the Indiana court of appeals.
The blast-motion maneuver delayed action on other house matters Monday. House Republicans met privately to discuss the issue, preventing a quorum needed to proceed. House minority leader Brian Bosma said he told Bauer of their plans and said the speaker expressed "grave concerns that the institution is under attack."
Bosma said house Republicans responded that "there is a greater institution under attack in our state today--the institution of marriage." The blast motion, according to house rules, allows any representative to call legislation stuck in a committee to the full house for consideration if a majority of the representatives agree to it. It was unclear when the last attempt at a blast motion was tried, and it may have been decades since one succeeded.