For the sake of argument, l will accept that Garton was a corrupt scoundrel, that efforts to improve the legislature by improving its accessibility to a wider swath of Hoosiers would only reward fat and corrupt incumbents, that the Indiana Equality coalition is ineffectual, and that I am self-righteously out to deceive the community. (I don't agree with any of those positions, but let's move on.)
To rephrase my concern, if our most adamant, extremist opponents in the Indiana Senate, Pat Miller, Jeff Drozda, and their ilk, could choose one impediment to their designs against us, against the rights of women, and against religious minorities that they could remove, it was the President Pro Tem, Senator Robert Garton. They could remove any Democrat in the Senate and not have furthered their cause in the least, because due to the Democratic Party's small minority position, even our greatest and staunchest ally amongst Democrats in the Senate could do little for us today. So the religious right prosecuted the campaign that they have pursued so successfully for two decades now: the removal in primaries of any Republican who stood in the way of their full agenda.
What are the consequences? Grim, even if for every progressive member of the community, moderate or liberal, Republican or Democrat. Here is why:
Pat Miller, Jeff Drozda, et al watched in frustration as their extremist proposals in the senate (to ban adoption by gays, to ban domestic partnership at our universities, etc.) were assigned by Garton to committees where they were quickly and quietly deep-sixed. (The same was true of proposals, for instance, that would require doctors to advise women contemplating abortion that the fetus would feel the pain. The New York Times Magazine Sunday in this regard gives even more cause for alarm: The next move of the fundamentalists is to go more brazenly after the teaching of contraception.)
With the removal of Garton, especially if replaced by a more conservative Senator, these proposals will see new life. If the Republicans retain power in the House, we're done for. Let's suppose however that the House goes Democrat, which would improve the picture for the gay community. Our problems are not over. A senate led by a social conservative may very well hold hostage every bill a democratic house may pass, even on the most unrelated topic, until the House passes the constitutional amendment UNCHANGED. Further, Radicals in the house can combine with a new social conservative power in the senate to throw at the Democratic house leadership every more extreme measures that would force Democrats to take stands for or against us, knowedgeable that some Democrats will have been elected in conservative districts that will not sustain "pro-glbt" positions. House democratic leadership will have to pick and choose what conservative measures they must pass in order to retain their majority and what measures they must take a stand on.
It will be difficult for House Democratic leadership, however unsympathetic it may be to anti-gay measures, to consider once again forfeitting control over the house by defending us. However helpful they may wish to be, they will at times find it impossible to reconcile support for us with another loss of power. IF the Senate is lead by a social conservative who is comfortable with an anti-gay agenda, an anti-choice agenda, or a pro-Christian religious agenda, rather than deep-sixing extremist measures, those measures will move into active consideration, and even a Democratic house may find it impossible to contemplate any positive measures of any sort on any topic for any constituency unless they render occasional sacrifice to the extremists in the Senate. Pure deadlock is the best scenario we can hope for, but with extremist success in the Senate, the hand of social conservatives in the House will be considerable strengthened.
That is why there were rumors afoot during the final days of the Garton campaign that not only were Waltz and Drozda lending quiet support to Walker, but so was Bosma.