Bil Browning

Let's play catch up

Filed By Bil Browning | March 21, 2007 6:58 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: American Values Alliance, Democrats, Greens, homophobic behavior, Indianapolis Colts, Libertarians, marriage, Republicans, SJR-7, Tony Dungy

So today has been one hectic day, eh?

First there was the Tony Dungy story. While most of us fully expected Coach Dungy to steer clear of any political landmines, the coach threw himself into the fray with glee. Even the Indy Star reporter, Bobby King, gave me a few minutes to come up with a quote - neither of us were expecting the coach to actually talk about SJR-7.

Plus, this morning I organized a news conference for the American Values Alliance on the steps of the Statehouse with representatives of every major political party in Indiana - all opposed to SJR-7. (See the press release here.) JoAnne Sanders (D), Scott Keller (R), Mike Kole (Libertarian), and Kathleen Dobie (Greens), and Bill Groth (AVA President) were all spectacular in their defense of the LGBT community. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. The Indianapolis Star, WTHR-13, WRTV-6, and WXIN-59 were all there, but I imagine coverage of the actual House committee meeting will knock them off the news cycle pretty quickly.

This new conference was quickly followed up with three and a half hours of sitting in the House chambers to watch and see what happened with SJR-7. The usual suspects testified on behalf of the flawed legislation - almost all of them simply religious figures with no real standing since our laws aren't based on any one religion, but rather the notion that all Americans are created equal. The two "experts" that they presented had to come from out of state - one from Arizona and the other from Colorado. Yes, Focus on the Family sent someone from Colorado to try and influence Hoosier lawmakers. All of the opponents to SJR-7 were, at least, from Indiana. Don Sherfick, the first person to speak in opposition to SJR-7, is a bilerico contributor! We know he's home-grown!

With all of the hooptey-doo that's been made over SJR-7 it makes me wonder how much of that has been influenced by out-of-state right-wing religious zealots with their own agenda. After all, the right-wing Christian orgs are affiliated with other larger organizations. If they don't do what the out-of-state home office wants, they lose a lot of funding. And since Focus on the Family even thinks that Spongebob SquarePants will turn you gay... (Remember too, that the group Coach Dungy has "embraced" is the Indiana arm of Focus on the Family! Yikes!)

In the end, the committee decided not to vote today. Does this mean they've wised up and will postpone it until next year to give time to study the matter? Will they simply strike Part B from the amendment? If so, will Part A go on the ballot in 2008? The answer, at this point, is that no one really knows. While several folks have ideas and theories, that's about as good as it gets currently.

So what was your day like today? Did you go to the committee hearing? If so, what did you think?

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I Need Rest | March 21, 2007 8:11 PM

The hearing was a test in patience and a telling example of Hoosier politics at its worst.

And an example of what Rep. Lee Hamilton once told me: a good Hoosier mind can only absorb what the backside can endure.

Since I was an undergraduate, groups have been able to ply narrow-minded issues out of the General Assembly with some well-organized, if shallow, communication campaigns. It is the by- product of a citizen legislature. With few, if any, restraints on where they get their campaign cash. And fewer restraints on who lobbies them.

Rep. Pelath did an outstanding job moderating.

All the typical wing-nuts were there. I think it's sometimes helpful for them to all gather in the same spot, if for no other reason than to ogle one another, and circle like jackals, because they all cast wide nets for the same audience and money. It is not a finite pool of resources. They all jump like lemmings: "See How High I Jumped For God Today!" Sad. My God is not amused or pleased.

I keep coming back to a central point: God is all over this debate, to hear the proponents tell it. And while we can debate whether my God agrees witih Eric Miller or me, there is not debate about this:

NO God belongs in the Consitution. Ever. And now, just as in the 70s, these feeble-minded legislators aren't willing to stick to the already-in-place Constitutional limits on religion. Because it's not popular.

Still searching for true leaders...and not finding many.

I was there, but I didn't get to testify because the opponents time allotment ran out before my turn. It was amusing at times to hear the proponents testimony. I also enjoyed the line of questioning about partnership/domestic benefits for brothers! NICE!! Way to NOT focus on what is really important...

Did you see Sarah, Marcia and Sue from PFLAG? I think they were the only ones who truly focused on what supposedly the opponents are trying to save - The Family! Sue actually broke up while talking about her straight son and lesbian daughter! Yay to our PFLAG moms!!!!

I applaud Rep. Pelath for being fair and diplomatic. I personally find it difficult to sit through hours of evil-spirited testimony - we all know the truth about why the proponents of this amendment support it.

I also don't believe that some of the legislators look past their noses at the world outside. They just don't get it that businesspeople and educators may not want to come to Indiana if we pass such restrictive laws. They don't seem to care.

Time will tell whether this gets voted in or not. But I have to say that we certainly gave it our all! We won't have to look back and say we didn't try!

Well, let's see... Kuzman reaffirmed that I am proud to have been born and raised in Lake Co. Because from up there, Crown Point looks slighty evangelical, but from down here in Kansas, I mean central Indiana, Crown Point feels more like home than it ever did.

And, if these proponents would take the bible out of their debate, well then, what would they have to stand on?
Their households may be governed by a Christian God, but the State House is not. If the fact that every one of the defenders of SJR-7 invoked the good lord at one time or another during their testimony is not a GIGANTIC F****** red flag, then I don't know what else there is to say.

Loved Sarah, Marcia and Sue! There was not a dry eye around me.

The PFLAG moms were superb. I love Marcia, Sarah, and Sue more than I did before. PFLAG moms (including Annette, who didn't testify today) continue to amaze me. From the HRO to SJR-7, they have been central to bringing home the crux of this issue - when all the rhetoric is pushed aside, this is about family, love, and equality. They have a way of just laying bare the realities faced by LGBT people and their families in a society that is regularly discriminatory, often hateful, and sometimes violent toward them.

I love you all.