Bil Browning

From a different perspective

Filed By Bil Browning | March 31, 2008 5:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality

I had lunch today with a conservative active in the marriage amendment push. As we spoke, I was shocked at some of the assumptions he made. It is always fascinating to see through someone else's eyes.

When we don't know something about someone else, we tend to fill in the details for ourselves. We make assumptions - whether good or bad - and ascribe intent easily. My lunch date had made what he assumed were logical conclusions, but instead had to absorb new information. Whether or not that makes a difference in his world view is doubtful.

Myth #1 - Indiana's LGBT organizations are well funded.
I wish. From Indiana Youth Group to INTRAA - Indiana Equality to IFN - if we all had the amount of money some of these "religious" organizations rake in regularly, we'd be a lot further than we are.

Myth #2 - Indiana Equality employees lots of people.
Wrong. IE outsources it's lobbying and organizational management to an outside consulting firm. The rest are volunteers.

Myth #3 - As soon as Pat Bauer became Speaker of the House again, SJR-7 was dead.
Uh, no. Several organizations businesses along with hundreds of people worked extremely hard to ensure that the amendment died in 2007. In 2008 we had it easier, but only because of the hard work the year before.

Myth #4 - Indiana Equality was given hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and donations to defeat SJR-7.
Nope. As far as I know, IE hasn't received a dime of grant money and the one large announced donation fell through. Most of their money came through house parties and organizational dues when I was involved with the organization.

Myth #5 - Indiana is a huge target for out-of-state gay rights groups.
Wow. No. No. No. We're not. While HRC has helped Indiana Equality quite a bit and the Family Equality Council just did an Indianapolis training session, for the most part we've fought our own battles in Indiana. Most of the time (as with the LGBT congressional debate) the national orgs just allow their name to be used in conjunction with local events. While we have several organizational contributors on the Bilerico-Project, that doesn't mean all of their affiliated groups have marked Indiana as the next gay rights staging ground.

It's fascinating that all of our hard work is being accredited to out-of-state assistance, gobs of money and paid workers. Especially so when most of the local uber-Christian orgs are affiliated with national groups, solicit donations all the time and have more staff than any LGBT state org.

I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

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Bil, we must be doing something right if the "other side" thinks we're so powerful.