When I took the phone call yesterday afternoon informing me that the attempt to amend the Constitution of the State of Indiana had died in committee, these raspy words came to me. They come from an Indiana institution, attorney Mark Gray, 90 years old and today in declining health. The venerable founder of Keitlinger and Gray, and of an old Indiana family, Mark Gray is as qualified as any to understand and express something deep in the soul of Hoosiers.
Having served on various national boards and commissions after World War II, Gray described to me his early caution to East Coast powerhouses who were assuming they could impose easily on Hoosier autonomy. He told them: "If the you want to work with Hoosiers, they'll work with you. But if you try to tell 'em theyHAVE to do something, their answer to you will be "The Hell We Do."
It's on that point that the tables turned in Indiana.
When it was the gay community insisting through the courts upon changes to the revered institution of marriage, rather than appealing to Hoosiers to achieve sympathy and support through democratic processes, the Hoosier soul rebelled at an imposition upon their will.
But when Curt Smith, Micah Clark, Eric Miller and a band of unsavory politicians said to Indiana you HAVE to join us in our campaign against gays and lesbians and you HAVE to amend the Constitution, they over-stepped. Through editorial boards, corporations, clergy , ordinary citizens, and, ultimately, through five Democratic legislators in committee refusing to approve a sweeping constitutional change, something decent deep in the Hoosier soul at last put its foot down.