INDIANAPOLIS - Tuesday was a crucial primary in Illinois' neighboring state of Indiana, where social issues were on voters' minds. In the Indiana General Assembly, party control is the reverse of Illinois.
Republicans hold super-majorities in both chambers - 69 Republicans to 31 Democrats in the House and 37 Republicans to 13 Democrats in the Senate. Governor Mike Pence is a staunch. platform-hugging Republican.
In Illinois, Democrats hold super-majorities in both chambers of the State Capitol, the Governor is Democrat and the IL GOP's previous state party chairman lobbied GOP lawmakers to defy the party platform on the definition of marriage.
Despite the rhetoric and the rejection of social issues among fiscal conservative-leaning groups and their spokesmen, recent WPA Opinion Research poll showed 82 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents support defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Family Research Council sized up Tuesday's GOP voters' choices and found a stark contrast between Illinois and Indiana's primary results:
Supporting marriage might cost you a job in broadcasting, but in Republican politics, it's the best decision you can make. Indiana voters made that crystal clear in last night's primary, refusing to "hold their peace" on two GOP House members who helped sink the state's chance at a marriage protection amendment. Kathy Heuer (R) and Rebecca Kubacki (R) probably regret their decision to undercut the state's marriage amendment now, after losing in a landslide rebuke of their liberal social positions. The women, who both lost to pro-marriage challengers, flip-flopped on the issue when the state was debating a November referendum -- betraying the GOP platform and ultimately costing Hoosiers the chance to vote their values.
Of course, the media wants you to think that Americans everywhere are ready throw man-woman marriage on the ash heap of history. Don't believe it. What happened in Indiana Tuesday only proves what the polling says: Republicans don't just support natural marriage -- they expect their candidates to. A few weeks ago, FRC released some pretty eye-opening numbers from a survey we commissioned by WPA Opinion Research.
In what should be a wake-up call to the GOP Establishment, 82% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage "should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman." And they're tired of their elected leaders ignoring the issue -- or worse, pushing the party in the opposite direction. Three-quarters of respondents scoffed the idea that "politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples" (with 67% strongly agreeing).
Exhibit A: Tuesday's victors. Pro-marriage amendment leaders won by big margins in Indiana -- including the bill's author, Eric Turner, committee chair Milo Smith, and Bob Morris. Jeff Raatz, who campaigned for state Senate, enjoyed an almost 2,000-vote cushion. For FRC Action and coalition, it was a gratifying night, especially after the disappointment of the marriage debate. Our sister organization poured thousands of dollars into ads and endorsements, determined to send a message to Republican incumbents that there's a price to pay for turning your back on marriage. Even "Freedom Indiana," one of the driving forces behind the amendment's defeat, retreated after diluting -- and then delaying -- the marriage amendment.
As our friend Curt Smith at IFA pointed out in all the press coverage, "The overall message is that if you oppose marriage in Indiana, you take huge political risks. If you want to thumb your nose at the pro-family groups, you do so at your own risk."