Indiana Republicans Dispute Talks Over Gay Marriage Ban
A former chairman of the Indiana Republican Party said Tuesday that he never promised "unlimited" campaign funds to make the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage go away, but rather offered to support lawmakers if they opposed the ban.
Jim Kittle, a prolific fundraiser in Indiana Republican circles, said he twice met with and tried to convince House Speaker Brian Bosma that the ban shouldn’t be considered this session but that he never offered unlimited funds. Bosma has repeatedly said he was offered unlimited money in the heat of the debate if he would pull the issue from consideration, but he has refused to say who made the offer.
Kittle, who opposed the ban, told The Associated Press that he met with the legislative leader at Bosma’s law office, once before the session and again shortly after the session started. He said Bosma expressed concerns that some House Republicans could face strong primary election fights if they opposed the ban.
"To offer support to individual legislators if they do happen to get primaried or they’re running certainly is not illegal, immoral or anything else," Kittle said. "I respect the fact that Brian’s got himself kind of in a jam here. He misjudged what was happening, period, on this."
At the start of the fight in January, Bosma said he had rejected an offer of "unlimited" funds to make the ban "go away." He said at the time that he was concerned it might violate state and federal law.
But last week, Bosma said he believed nothing criminal was meant by the offer. Bosma spokeswoman Tory Flynn declined comment Tuesday, referring to Bosma’s comments last week.
Indiana lawmakers approved an altered version of the proposed amendment this year, meaning it won’t make the November ballot. In Indiana, a proposed constitutional amendment must twice be approved by the Legislature, unchanged and in consecutive legislative sessions, in order to appear on the ballot.
The move marked a surprise victory for opponents of the gay-marriage ban just three years after lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the ban.
Kittle played a key role in helping find support for Freedom Indiana, the umbrella group which successfully kept the marriage ban off the November ballot.
The National Organization for Marriage, a national group opposing gay marriage, requested an investigation by Attorney General Greg Zoeller in a letter sent Tuesday.
"The only way to determine if a crime has been committed is to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation into the matter and report the findings publicly," the group’s chairman, John Eastman, wrote.
Zoeller spokesman Bryan Corbin said his office had not seen the request yet, but noted that the assertions made by the group would not fall under the jurisdiction of the attorney general.