Indiana Republican lawmakers have killed a bill aimed at curtailing child-trafficking in response to a Democrat’s amendment that would have repealed the state’s unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The child-trafficking measure would have raised the general minimum age for marriage to 18. Currently, people as young as 15 can marry in Indiana with parental consent.
A House committee approved the bill 9-1 “after hearing from women who testified they were 15 or 16 when their parents forced them to marry men who had raped or molested them and then faced more abuse before being able to escape the relationship,” according to the Associated Press.
However, GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma declined to take up the measure before Thursday’s deadline after Democratic Rep. Matt Pierce introduced an amendment to strike 1997 language from the marriage code stating: “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.”
Bosma called the amendment “political” and said Pierce’s intention “wasn’t just to eliminate obsolete language.”
“This was to have a big knockdown, drag-out discussion about it on the floor. That just isn’t productive,” Bosma said.
Pierce said he assured Bosma he wouldn’t force a floor vote on the amendment, because he didn’t want to derail the child-trafficking bill.
“I did not think it was unreasonable to remove what is now null-and-void unconstitutional language from the code,” Pierce said. “I didn’t think it would be that controversial because this issue has been settled now. Apparently to the Republican caucus it is controversial.”