Pence Reiterates Support For Conservative View On Marriage
Indianapolis Star, Steph Solis, September 18, 2014
Amid the ongoing battle over Indiana’s legal definition of marriage, Gov. Mike Pence has said he will uphold the law, whatever it dictates about marriage.
But, he told conservatives at a reception Thursday night in Carmel, it will not change his support for what he calls traditional family
“I will never waver in my belief in the importance of traditional marriage to our society and our community and the people of this great state,” he told members of the Indiana Family Institute.
Pence, a former board member of the institute, was the main speaker at the institute’s 25-year anniversary banquet at the Ritz Charles. More than 450 people signed up for the $75-a-plate event.
The institute also recognized state Sen. Mike Delph, a Carmel Republican up for re-election, as Legislator of the Year for fighting same-sex marriage in Indiana.
Pence seized the opportunity to reassert his commitment to conservative beliefs on same-sex marriage, abortion and religious freedom.
“I appreciate the stand each of you have taken on behalf of traditional marriage,” Pence said. “While, like all of you, I hoped that this view had been decided by the people, it’s now in the hands of the courts.”
Pence’s comments came days after a judge revived four same-sex couples’ claims against the Indiana governor. U.S. District Judge Richard Young said he was reinstating part of the same-sex lawsuit over the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages because Pence had told agencies how to address the ban despite claiming he didn’t have that authority.
Kyle Megrath, of Hoosiers Unite for Marriage, said this month he hoped “Attorney General Zoeller and Governor Pence would stop their endless defense of an unconstitutional law,” according to a prepared statement. “Two courts have now struck down this law, and it’s clear that Hoosiers support protecting these couples and recognizing their marriages.”
Pence did not respond to requests for an interview at the banquet. Pence’s spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
Delph’s opponent, J.D. Ford, told The Indianapolis Star he was unimpressed by the institute’s award and its perception of family values.
“My opponent only wants to represent his version of families,” Ford said.
He called the state senator and the governor “out of touch with the district” for attending the banquet and not focusing on jobs, education or other policies.
Pence also touted his policies on abortion, bringing up the legislation he signed in 2013 that banned insurance coverage for most abortion procedures.
“Life is winning in Indiana, because of the efforts of all of you,” Pence said. “Life is winning in this state — I truly believe — because compassion is overcoming convenience. Life is defeating despair.”
He took a moment to voice support for an 8-foot-tall wooden statue with a small, white-painted cross at the bottom, at Whitewater Memorial State Park in Liberty. The cross has been at the center of a controversy over religious freedom as the statue honors fallen soldiers. Opponents of the cross have said it insinuates the statue commemorates only the deaths of Christian soldiers.
But the majority of Pence’s speech discussed the sanctity of marriage, reinforcing his views against premarital sex, abortion and same-sex marriage.
The institute echoed Pence’s support for traditional family values and recognized Delph’s staunch support for a referendum that, if passed, would have asked voters whether the state’s constitution should define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The measure, known as HJR-3, failed to pass the Indiana General Assembly. Delph faced backlash from same-sex marriage opponents and from his own party on the measure. Still, Delph’s staunch stand earned him praise from social conservatives and groups such as the institute.