Bil Browning

Connect the dots

Filed By Bil Browning | February 16, 2007 9:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: amendment, benefits, Brandt Hershman, constitutional amendment, domestic partner, homophobic behavior, hypocritical motherfuckers, SJR-7

Let's take a closer look at Brandt Hershman - author of SJR-7 and chief proponent.

Good old Brandt has realized that he's no longer able to whip folks into a fury with the gay boogieman. Hoosiers point out that a constitutional amendment (for something that's already against the law) ranks pretty low on the totem pole compared to the war in Iraq, taxes, employment, immigration, and, hell, even Daylights Savings Time. His support is fleeing the ship. Hoosiers tend to be a rather tolerant bunch for the most part. They might be slow to change, but they are a live-and-let-live group in a conservative sort of way. If there is one thing they won't tolerate, it's a snake-oil salesman who says one thing and intends something else entirely. You know, someone like Brandt Hershman.

You might have seen references to the latest pack of lies from Hershman and his ilk. After organizations and individuals from around the state have pointed out huge failings in the second part of his proposed amendment, Hershman has now resorted to outright lies. He's now claiming that the amendment wouldn't force public universities and governments to stop offering domestic partner benefits.

Indy Star: "I think there has been a concerted effort to muddy the waters on this issue," said Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, author of the amendment.
"All the legal reasoning I've seen suggests the second section does none of the negative things that the gay community has suggested it does."

Lafayette Journal and Courier: State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Wheatfield, who helped write the resolution, said, "I have consulted constitutional scholars and the attorney general. And these assertions are simply false."

I contend that Hershman knows exactly what he's doing. As Don pointed out, Hershman had every chance to have his amendment reflect the federal marriage amendment, after the original version was changed by conservatives themselves. Instead, he chose not to, with a result that is similar in effect to the Michigan amendment which just nullified dp benefits in that state. Why?

Maybe this can shed some light. From the Journal and Courier Opinions Page, April 11, 2003: (emphasis mine)

Stem benefits for same-sex partners

Three cheers for Sen. Brandt Hershman and his efforts on behalf of Indiana taxpayers. Hershman offered an amendment to the state's budget bill that would require that no public funding be spent for same-sex health benefits. This would affect state-funded universities, such as Purdue University. Our tax dollars should not be spent for the health benefits of homosexuals, and Hershman had the courage to say so and to do something about it.

In fact, when questioned by a Purdue legislative lobbyist at the Chamber of Commerce Third House meeting recently, Hershman revealed that 92.5 percent of surveyed respondents from his district were also opposed to state funds being used for health benefits for homosexuals.

We need to stand behind Sen. Hershman by calling our state representatives, asking them to support the amendment that will say no to public funding for same-sex health benefits.

Diana Vice

With a little digging you find this gem. It's an amendment that Hershman felt compelled to offer to the state budget after Purdue started offering domestic partner benefits. (Again, emphasis mine.)
HB 1001-1_ Filed 04/01/2003, 16:42 Hershman
Sec. 1.5. (a) A state educational institution (as defined in IC 20-12-0.5-1 ) that provides group coverage for health care services for the state educational institution's employees shall provide coverage for only the:
(1) employee;
(2) individual to whom the employee is married
under IC 31-11-1-1 ; and
(3) employee's dependent:
(A) child; and
(B) stepchild;
under the employee's coverage.
(b) A state educational institution that provides coverage for health care services for an individual other than the individuals described in subsection (a) is not eligible for public funding related to the group coverage.
IC 5-10-8-1.5 , as added by this act, applies to an arrangement for group coverage
for a state educational institution's employees that is established, entered into, issued, delivered, amended, or renewed after June 30, 2003.

Yes, you read that right. In 2003 Brandt Hershman tried to take away domestic partner benefits for public universities. His amendment while filed, was apparently never called down for consideration. Someone in the Senate thought that Hershman's amendment was too far right...

His amendment to the state budget went nowhere. But in 2005, Brandt returns to the homophobic arena piggy backing on the federal marriage amendment fever. And what does he brandish? A version of the amendment even more severe than the federal one (or the one proposed in the Indiana House in 2004). It wouldn't just define marriage as a man and woman, it would strip gays and lesbians of any rights they might already have with it's second subsection.

Like domestic partner benefits. And domestic violence protections. And hospital visitation. And inheritance and survivorship rights. And... And... And...

Connect the dots. What's Hershman's real motive? It's not to "protect families." He divorced his wife after he coerced her into having an abortion. Divorce and abortion doesn't protect families. Having insurance. Being safe from an abusive relationship. Seeing your dying loved one in the hospital after an accident or illness. Knowing the house or business you shared with your spouse won't be taken by an estranged family member after your death. These things protect families, Brandt.

Our families too.

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Ellen Andersen | February 17, 2007 10:49 PM

Bravo, Bil. This is a terrific post with great investigative reporting.

I have to admit, Ellen. There wasn't much investigative reporting to this one - I got sent the info as a tip.

Its so great to see our community coming together and using our noodles to try and stop the erosion of our rights. Together we can make a difference!