Members of Bloomington’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community have begun calling and e-mailing Bloomington State Representative Peggy Welch after she voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Eleven of the House’s 40 Democrats, including Peggy Welch, voted for the resolution as it passed out of the House this week. Welch says her vote is consistent with her faith and her stance on the issue since she was first elected more than a decade ago. Furthermore, Welch says she believes she’s accurately representing the view of her constituents that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
“I don’t believe marriage is threatened by that; I don’t believe the world’s going to come to an end. But I believe the majority of the citizens of District 60 believe that it’s important to maintain that distinction,” said Welch.
Welch says even though an existing state law defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman has not been challenged in court, she fears a judge could overturn it later. But she could not cite any ill effects to the state even if the law was overturned.
Coordinator of Indiana University’s GLBT Student Support Office Doug Bauder, calls trying to lobby Welch on the issue “a lost cause,” saying past attempts have been unsuccessful. Bauder says he’d like the debate stretched beyond the politics of representing a legislator’s district…
“I also think it’s very important for those of us who are gay and lesbian to be open and honest about who we are, so that people understand this is an issue that’s not just a political issue, it’s a personal issue for many of the citizens of this state,” Bauder said.
Monroe County legislators split their votes on the issue, with Matt Pierce voting against the resolution. Welch says she plans to begin answering calls and e-mails on the topic at the end of next week.