Bil Browning

Brad Ellsworth's LGBT record causes problems on the road to the Senate

Filed By Bil Browning | February 18, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: brad ellsworth, election 2010, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Evan Bayh, gay rights, hate crimes against LGBT people, indiana, LGBT, LGBT politics, LGBT rights, Senate

I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post this morning about the chase to win Indiana Senator Bayh's place on the ballot in the upcoming election. Hoosier Representative Brad Ellsworth is the top contender currently, but Ellsworth has an incredibly bad voting record on LGBT issues.

Congressman Brad EllsworthEllsworth's social conservatism might serve him well in a portion of the state chock full of Appalachian white evangelical Christians and Joe the Plumber types, but it hasn't earned him many friends in the LGBT community. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT political organization, ranks Ellsworth as one of the ten worst Democratic Congress members when it comes to LGBT issues; he scored a meager 30 out of 100 possible points.
The State Central Committee needs to stand up for full equality. The Democratic Party is a family, and you don't promote family members like Ellsworth - with his appalling record on LGBT issues - to the driver's seat.

Because 30% is a failing grade on any report card.

National Stonewall Democrats have launched an action to send e-mails to the Indiana Democratic Party urging them to pick a pro-LGBT candidate. Send your e-mail quickly, news reports say Ellsworth will announce his intentions tomorrow.

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Wow, this is so amazing! I, too, live in a state named Indiana! However, mine is quite different from yours.

In my Indiana, the whole *state* is 'chock full of Appalachian white evangelical Christians and Joe the Plumber types,' and noone, the voters, the politicians, or the state Democratic party much cares what HRC or any other bunch of 'homo-sext-yoo-ulls' thinks.

In my Indiana, I have never really observed much interest in advancing GLBT rights; in fact, we have an anti-marriage-equality law, and would have the same as an amendment to the constitution if the Christians and Joes could just get it on the ballot.

Maybe I should move to the Indiana you live in. Can you give me directions there?



I realize that you work for an organization that's supporting Ellsworth's candidacy, but I think it's very important here to point out that your version of Indiana that has us chock-full of Appalachian whites, etc isn't quite truthful. The Appalachian whites settled in the southern part of the state and is why the political and cultural climate of that portion of the state is much different than the German and Amish settled northern areas.

Indianapolis has an area dominated by Appalachian whites - the south-east side - but the majority of the 7th district is African-American. (We've had an African-American Congress person for how many decades now?) The voting patterns between Indy and Evansville are vastly different. Ellsworth's conservative roots and voting record won't play well with liberal Lake County voters, our other Democratic stronghold after Indianapolis. Liberal Bloomington voters are also making noise about Ellsworth's anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-immigrant stances.

I think you'd be surprised at how much the politicians and powers-that-be care about what's being said about Ellsworth right now. Well, actually you wouldn't. You've shown up again to lambast something political at your boss's more-than-likely direction.

Wow, Bil!

Take a couple of deep breaths, ok? :)

I think you must have me mixed up with someone else? I don't now, nor have I ever, worked for or supported Ellsworth! In fact, if he is chosen, I won't vote for him, just like I have never voted for Bayh (I just left that spot open on the ballot, would never vote for a Republican). I have never met the guy, and really don't much want to, either.

I looked back at my post topics, and I don't think I have really had too many comments on political issues, either? When I have, I am sure they have been negative and cynical, tho...Although you prolly have a much better idea of how receptive pols are to GLBT issues than I do (my only real involvement in politics is to vote), from what I see and hear and read, I stand by my OP. In general, I pretty much agree with the late Harrison Ullman's opinion that the powers that be in Indiana don't care about much of anyone whose name doesn't include 'Inc.' or 'and Co.' I also tend to agree with him that the Democrat here are so conservative and business oriented, that what we really have are the Republican and Republicrat (Demoblican?) parties.

Really, the reason I replied, and replied the way I did, was that I saw your post and just about fell over laughing, given my cynical and negative views of Indiana. I thought, "God, the Democratic Party here could care less about what the GLBT community thinks!" I though later that you might post chastising me for *being* so negative and cynical, as yes, I *would* "be surprised at how much the politicians and powers-that-be care about what's being said about Ellsworth right now"! I didn't expect the personal attack, tho perhaps I brought that on by what I said about Indiana? Or was it just that you perceived me as making a stealth attack on you?

I am sorry if I made you angry for attacking and generalizing Indiana. I guess for most ppl, attacking their state is kinda like attacking them. So I do apologize for that! I forget that most ppl really like living here and are loyal to the state.

On the other hand, I am not a newcomer. I have lived in Indy for over 20 years, the first bit of it actually *on* the southeast side (OH. MY. GOD!), the remainder on the Northeast side. And tho perhaps I am just somehow missing the good aspects of the state (I did really love that we didn't do Daylight Savings Time), I haven't really found living here a particularly positive experience. Also, in spite of whatever historical geographic differences in settlement there were, I haven't really seen what I consider much difference between opinions coming from one part of the state or another, they all seem pretty intolerant, redneck, and conservative from my perspective. An eye-opening experience I recommend is to read the comments to any article on the Star newspaper website relating to GLBT rights, the poor, Obama, positive influences of government in ppl's lives. :(

So to close, I am sorry that I offended you, and I apologize again. However, I was just being sarcastic and expressing my frustration at the hate and prejudice we in the GLBT community have to face in the world, and how I see that so consistently supported and represented right here where I live, and among ppl I have to interact with. I had no intention of making some sneak attack on Ellworth's part, I was just genuinely expressing how I feel as a person and a citizen of Indiana, nothing more, and nothing less.

Carol :)

PS: I have to know-do ppl in Lake Country really vote to support GLBT equality? And although Bloomington has a substantial GLBT and GBLT-friendly community, how about the townies and the counties (ppl who live outside the city)? How do Morgan County and that district tend to vote overall? Progessive or conservative? I am truly interested in understanding the voting patterns, would change my mind if I saw areas of Indiana actually supported GLBT equality. I just know that I don't see it among ppl I know.

Also, how does the 7th District vote on GLBT-equality issues? How do Andre Carson's constituents feel about his support of marriage equality? Do they support him in that?

I appreciate any ifo you can give me or direct me toward (website recommendations, or so forth), as I *would* like to feel better about the state I live in! :)

Then my apologies, Carol. There's someone with the username Carol that has been following me around all over the internet for the past couple days to leave pro-Ellsworth comments on everything. It seemed like an odd stance for her to suddenly take, but if I'd looked at e-mail addresses I'd have known it wasn't her. I was just looking at the front page of the site though and saw "Carol." Mea culpa.

It's ok, Bil, I understand, no big deal! I frequent a bunch of feminist sites, and at times some of them are full of rightwingers just trolling and repeating the same talking points to every topic. They have no interest in engaging in dialog, they just want to make trouble, and that is very frustrating! :)

My guess is that other than how hopeful we are for progress for GLBT equality, we pretty much agree on things! I love Bilerico, and admire you for all you do.

Carol :)

I believe your thoughtful analysis goes a lot further than the number of emails people send. Quality beats quantity.

Carol, you suggest that your Indiana is a hate-based state. Why do you live there?

I guess the truest answer is that I am a hypocrite....

however, long complicated boring story short, I have a good job here, and prolly couldnt replace if we moved elsewhere, and we live close enough to our families that we can go there often.

Carol :)

Who would you have the Democratic Party put on the ballot? Indiana is full of conservative Democrats. Ellsworth is not alone. Joe Donnelly (who represents my district) has the same rating as Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill isn't much better at 50%. I think that everyone in the GLBT community would like our politicians to step up to the plate for us. Most of us aren't single issue voters, though, and we definitely are not going to expect House members in Indiana to be terribly friendly to our cause.