By Shelby D. Salazar
Republican leaders followed Gov. Mike Pence’s lead in not defining a hard stance on LGBT issues but focused more on the issues of drugs, roads and education.
“He talked about the LGBT issue,” Senate President Pro Tempore David Long
, R-Fort Wayne, said. “It’s been long awaited to have the governor speak on that.”
Pence choose to focus on the importance of religious freedom rather than defining his stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. But Long “thought it was a start.”
“The governor did address it and he did not say that he would veto anything,” Long said. “He said he would take a hard look at it. I think he expressed his concerns about religious freedom articulately.”
House Speaker Brian Bosma
, R-Indianapolis, echoed Long on Pence’s remarks about religious freedom.
“I thought he was more clear on the religious freedom issue, the element that he is most concerned about,” Bosma said. “I think he has set some very clear parameters in that regard. We’ll continue to have further discussions with him to find out exactly what the governor intends with that.”
Bosma moved the focus to the consistency among the House, Senate, and the governor’s agendas identifying Indiana’s current problems.
“Roads, teaching and testing, drugs, meth and heroin and the other issues that we’ve talked about consistently,” Bosma said. “We’re all on the same page that these are the biggest issues that face our state. These are the top problems that we need to deal with.”
While there are differences in proposed plans to handle issues, like roads, between the legislative and executive offices, Long highlighted the unity on working to try to address the issues.
“The good news is that we are all talking about that, Republicans and Democrats in trying to find some solutions.” Long said. “We are not united on the actual way to get it done but that’s what we are here to do.”
When further pressed about LGBT issues, Long remained firm in not taking a hard stance.
“We’re in a time when society is changing quickly and rapidly and in some people’s eyes too quickly, in ways they never maybe comprehended,” Long said. “That’s the world we live in today, so it is wise to be cautious.”
But Long does not want the LGBT debate to drown out the legislature’s accomplishments and goals.
“I’m confident that we can get a lot of things done this year and still deal with this issue,” said Long.