Last week I was asked to testify at yesterday's Senate hearing of SJR-13. Of course I said yes, being very happy to be able to tell the Senate committee how I feel about this issue. As a PFLAG mom, I would love to see my son be able to get married one day. So I sat down at my computer and typed three paragraphs about wanting to see my son walk down the aisle, and how we don't want to change marriage - we just want our children able to share in it.
Since this was the first time I've ever testified about anything, needless to say I was quite scared. My legs felt like jelly and I hoped I wouldn't clam up when it was my turn to speak. Fortunately, the Senate chambers are freezing, so it kept me pretty sharp.
The "other" side testified first. Over and over, I heard people saying how terrible it would be if homosexuals could get married. They said we need to protect the tradition of marriage. One thing they never said was "how" marriage would change if gays could get married.
As these people spoke, I found myself getting very angry. I was having a difficult time listening to them. I think that was fortunate, though, because eventually my anger outweighed my fear. By the time it was my turn to speak, I was ready! My legs were no longer shaky and I wasn't sweating. I gave my testimony and then it was over. I sat down, able to relax.
I must admit that "our" side did very well. Sarah Patterson, another PFLAG mom, spoke about her daughter, her daughter's partner and three children. Michael Wallack who represented the Jewish Community Relations Council, spoke eloquently about how the Jewish community abhors discrimination and about "tikkum olam" - repairing the world. His words made me cry - not only was I proud to be a PFLAG mom today, but also a Jew. Lettie Oliver, Assistant Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - AFSCME Council 62, also spoke about discrimination as a woman and an African-American. J. T. Forbes, State Government Relations Director at Cummins, Inc. described how this amendment would prevent the best and the brightest people from coming to Indiana to work.
Finally, the vote was taken. Unfortunately, SJR-13 was passed by a vote of 6 to 4. We still have a lot of work to do. But today representatives and allies of the GLBT community came together to explain how damaging this amendment can be. I am very proud that I was able to share my thoughts with the committee. Hopefully one day my testimony, and that of others, won't be needed. As we say in PFLAG, we will have changed hearts and minds.