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General assembly

Senator rebuked for caucus tweet

Delph

– State Senate President Pro Tem David Long has disciplined a fellow Republican senator who broke caucus rules by using Twitter to tell Hoosiers what would happen with the proposed constitutional gay marriage ban.

Several reports indicate Sen. Mike Delph, from Carmel, met with Long, from Fort Wayne, and other leaders of the Republican caucus Thursday and accepted his reprimand.

According to a Senate Republican spokeswoman, as part of the punishment:

•Delph’s seat will move from the Republican side of the chamber to the Democratic side, away from most other Republicans.

•He will lose his leadership position as the Senate’s assistant majority floor leader of communications.

•He will no longer be ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

•He will no longer be assigned a press secretary for communication needs.

The trouble started Feb. 13 when Senate Republicans met in caucus to decide whether to amend the constitutional marriage ban to include civil unions. Before the bill was called on the floor, Delph tweeted that the civil union provision was dead because there wasn’t enough support to restore it. It was omitted by the House in January.

Long said publicizing a caucus decision violates caucus protocol. That’s the reason for the punishment, the spokeswoman said.

Over the weekend, Delph also engaged in an epic Twitter debate about same-sex marriage. Then at a news conference Monday, he criticized Long for controlling the process in such a way that the civil union provision wasn’t added back in.

Long has said repeatedly that the caucus made decisions on the measure – not just him. Long and Delph declined to comment Friday.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath said Delph is a lifelong friend who would help clean your garage if you asked him. They were fraternity brothers in college.

“Mike understands that words have consequences, and where you are really being what you believe is courageous, that means you have to accept the consequences of that courage. If you’re not willing to accept the consequences, it’s not courage.”

He also said Delph “is absolutely one of the people that makes Indiana politics semi-interesting.”

nkelly@jg.net

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