Until a day ago, Andy Markle was a gay Republican running for a seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.
But after Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma successfully orchestrated a political power play to get a constitutional marriage ban bill passed by a House committee, Markle has quit the party in disgust.
He tells Gay Star News he has been fighting ‘an uphill battle’ with the state GOP for some time and will now likely be running for the District 99 seat as an Independent.
‘Today is a day that will never be forgotten in the hearts of many Hoosiers, including my own,’ Markle wrote in a dramatic Facebook post.
Markle, 25, is the director of Indiana GOProud, a fiscally conservative organization of gays and straight voters who are in favor of LGBTI equality. Last week, GOProud founder, Jimmy LaSalvia, also quit the GOP.
Markle accuses Bosma using ‘extraordinary and unprecedented rules’ to move the bill at the last minute from the House Judiciary Committee to the Elections and Apportionment Committee where it had a better chance at passage.
‘As an openly gay male and a conservative, I find it deplorable that the state would choose to take such extraordinary measures to disenfranchise me and my fellow LGBT brothers and sisters,’ Markle writes.
Although same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, the bill seeks to amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The bill will next be voted on by the entire House of Representatives. If it passes out of the House, the bill would then need to pass out of the Senate then the public would vote on it as a ballot measure.
On his campaign page, Markle had described himself as someone who believes ‘in a government that is both fiscally responsible and a stronger promoter of our civil liberties.’
Markle laments what he is seeing happen to his state in regards to gay marriage.
‘We have seen a state divide over an issue that should have never been an issue,’ he writes. ‘It deeply saddens me to see the state that I have called home for the past 8 years plunge into a debate over a minority group’s civil rights.’
‘I am not leaving the Republican Party,’ Markle adds, ‘the Republican Party has left me.’
For now, he remains with GOProud and says he is discussing his future with the organization.
To run as an Independent, Markle will need to collect 4,000 signatures from within the heavily Democratic district in which he wants to run. He has also not ruled out running as a Libertarian, a party he belonged to up until four years ago.