Unclear if Pence still backs national gay marriage ban

Mike Pence
Official photo of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE)- Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who previously co-sponsored a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have banned gay marriage nationally, said he still holds “the views I’ve always held” when pressed last week about whether his feelings on the matter have changed.

Pence supported and co-sponsored the proposed amendment during the middle of the previous decade when he was serving as a congressman.

So is the governor saying he’d still support a national amendment banning gay marriage? That’s what it sounds like -you can read his response in context in the transcript below- although he did not give a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in his brief interview with NewsChannel 15. A spokeswoman for Pence did not respond to a subsequent email request for clarification.

Pence’s comment came during an interview looking back on the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly, a session that was largely dominated by the question of whether Indiana should add a gay marriage ban to the state Constitution. Though he had no official role to play, Pence waded gently into the debate, urging lawmakers to pass a version that outlawed civil unions as well and which would have gone to a public vote in the fall.

Lawmakers chose to define marriage in Indiana as the union of one man and one woman but dropped the language on civil unions, delaying a potential public vote for at least two years.

Below is the transcript of Pence’s exchange on the subject with Mark Mellinger:

Mark: “How disappointed were you that state lawmakers did not send the constitutional ban on gay marriage to a public vote in 2014?”

Pence: “I’m just very grateful that members of the General Assembly in both parties really conducted a debate on that issue in a way that really honored the people of our state.”

Mark: “But I know you wanted the amendment on the ballot this year. I mean, on a scale of one to ten, how disappointed were you?”

Pence: “I support traditional marriage and I have long held the view that people, not unelected judges, ought to make those decisions. But I accept the outcome of this session of the General Assembly.”

Mark: “You once co-sponsored a federal marriage protection amendment that would’ve constitutionally banned gay marriage at the federal level. Would you still support that today?”

Pence: “Well, let me say, I accept the outcome of the work of the Indiana General Assembly on that referendum. But I think what Hoosiers saw was that we have a state legislature that can debate sensitive issues in a thoughtful way, can resolve those issues, but then move directly to the kind of legislation that’ll put Hoosiers back to work, that’ll improve the outcomes for our kids and our schools, that’ll improve the long-term infrastructure of our state. That’s why I like to say, in this session of the General Assembly, Hoosiers won.”

Mark: “But what about nationally? Have you changed your feeling on that issue? Is it no longer a national issue? This issue of what marriage is should be decided state by state now?”

Pence: “I think people know where I stand on that issue. I support traditional marriage and hold the views I’ve always held. I am grateful that the General Assembly conducted a thoughtful, respectful debate, resolved it, and then really turned their attention with great energy to jobs and schools and to the future of our state.”

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