INDIANAPOLIS — Attorney General Curtis Hill defied Indiana Republican Party leadership Tuesday by urging the proposed 2018 party platform be revised to explicitly acknowledge "marriage between a man and a woman" is the cornerstone of strong families.
In a video statement, Hill said the decision by GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer, and the party's platform committee, to delete a clear commitment to opposite-sex marriage from the biennial declaration of state Republican principles conflicts with the beliefs of a broad majority of Hoosiers.
"It is difficult to understand how excluding the institution of marriage makes the platform more inclusive," Hill said.
"Those who believe in 'traditional' marriage and those who support 'non-traditional' marriage share a common belief — that marriage provides, through the commitment of one to another, the unique basis of family that is greater than all other bonds."
Hill is the first statewide elected official to side in the ongoing platform kerfuffle with the socially conservative "Republican Victory Committee" over the party leadership chosen by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The committee, which is led by Morgan County Republican Chairman Daniel Elliott and prominent GOP attorney James Bopp Jr., has vowed that if party leaders this week fail to recognize opposite-sex marriage as the basis of strong families, as the current platform does, it will push to amend that language into the new platform Saturday at the Republican state convention.
Hill indicated he supports that effort. It's also backed by at least two congressmen, seven state senators, 20 state representatives and 18 county party chairmen.
"If given the opportunity, delegates should choose the platform that is truly inclusive, truly diverse and truly supportive of marriage as a basis of strong families in Indiana," Hill said. "Delegates should choose to preserve the principled language of the 2016 platform."
The proposed 2018 platform does acknowledge that "strong families are the foundation of society." But it also recognizes that many Hoosier children don't live in families headed by a male-female married couple.
"We support traditional families with a mother and father, blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and all loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day," it declares.
Hupfer said the new platform language was developed through a monthslong process involving Republicans across the state who said they wanted the party to recognize both traditional and non-traditional families in emphasizing the importance of the family unit.
The language is similar to the 2012 Indiana GOP platform that was crafted when Holcomb was state party chairman.
The governor declined to comment for this report.
The man-woman marriage provision was first inserted in the Republican platform in 2014 during the administration of Gov. Mike Pence, now vice president of the United States, who opposes marriage equality.
Hill said: "The United States Supreme Court has established that marriage between couples of the same sex is a matter of constitutional right. I accept the court's decision as law."