Bil Browning

Patriots act

Filed By Bil Browning | June 30, 2005 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics

Jerame and I were featured in an INTake magazine article this week. The article (to coincide with the Fourth of July weekend) is about "Freedom Fighters" in Indiana. Darnell Morris-Compton has written an interesting focus on various individuals in the Indianapolis area who are contributing to the community.

While there are a couple of errors, they're minor. I'm not the president of IAN - Jerame is. And what's with the quote from me? "I don't believe no one wants to go back to..." Try "I don't believe ANY one wants..." The article is pretty lengthy. The section pertaining to Jerame and I is:

Redefining family

For Jerame Davis, his cause is personal.

Davis, 30, wants his partner, Bil Browning, and his 11-year-old daughter, Paige, to be seen in the eyes of the law as a family.

Same-sex marriage has become one of the hottest topics in Indiana, and as it stands, the Bill of Rights does not include sexual orientation as a basis for prohibiting discrimination.

If some members of the Indiana General Assembly have their way, laws against gays and lesbians could further limit their ability to receive partner benefits.

Davis didn't begin protesting and fighting for his rights until legislators wanted to take away rights he didn't have in the first place.

"They are trying to write discrimination into the Constitution," said Davis, an IT specialist. "The Constitution gives rights; it's not something to take away rights from a class of people."

Browning agreed. That's why he's president of the Indiana Action Network, a direct action group that stages protests and prompts civic engagement.

"It's still OK to discriminate against gays and lesbians in Indiana," Browning said. "It's just asinine. This isn't the 1920s when everyone belongs to the (Ku Klux) Klan. I don't believe no one wants to go back to that time, yet it's still acceptable to discriminate against gays and lesbians."

Browning contends this issue is more of a generational one, noticing that in general, young professionals are more accepting today than the previous generation.

"If you poll the under-30 crowd, you'll see a big difference in attitude," Browning said. "The new generation. . . is a lot more accepting than the ones that are over 30."

Together, they host rallies against prejudice, talk when people listen, and yell, scream and shout when people turn their ears off.

They are fighting for their family, so that Paige can be cared for by two parents who love her and want to make legal decisions together about her well-being.

"I think divorce is a bigger threat to the institution of marriage than allowing gays rights to medical benefits, or to see their sick partner in the hospital," he said. "Britney Spears can get married and divorced in the same day. I simply want the freedom to enjoy my family without public backlash, without a public that says it's not the norm."

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