Bil Browning

Indiana Government Intensifies Assault on Same-Sex Couples

Filed By Bil Browning | February 18, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: anti-gay legislation, Carlin Yoder, domestic partner benefits, Scott Schneider, state senator

The Indiana state senate has decided to intensify the assault on same-sex couples. Republican senators Scott Schneider and Carlin Yoder have introduced SB 475, a measure that would prevent state government from providing domestic partner benefits to employees in a same-sex relationship. persecution.jpgEarlier this week, the state house of representatives passed an amendment to the constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions.

A bill that would restrict the benefits of same-sex couples on college campuses was announced on Thursday, just days after the House passed an amendment banning same-sex marriage.

SB 475 would take away from same-sex couples benefits such as insurance. State-funded colleges such as Purdue would not be able to provide medical or other emergency benefits to same-sex partners of University employees.

The state senate is expected to pick up the amendment later this session and easily pass it. Democrats control so few seats in the senate that even if they walked out like the Wisconsin legislators did this week, the Republicans can reach a quorum without them.

A quick observation: Scott Schneider was an Indianapolis City-County councilor when we passed the inclusive human rights ordinance. He was the main opponent on the council. We whupped his ass then and we'll do it again now.

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Maybe we could change all those big Welcome to Indiana! signs at the borders to include underneath:

(Well, not you sicko homos, of course!)

Kinda like the sign that Martinsville used to have for black folks...

Isn't this one of the problems we have in our civil rights movement? We do not see ANY of the ugly, disgusting, visible signs everywhere that say "WHITES ONLY" or "NO MEXICANS" as we saw in the 20th Century.

A call to artists - make signs that say "Heterosexuals Only" and "Homosexuals Only", etc., and place them on various water fountains, entrances, etc. I'm told that when those Avery labels are printed up and placed out in the sunshine, they quickly become INCREDIBLY difficult to remove! :-)

I would say that all LGBTQ persons should boycott the state, and call for unions and other organizations not to hold meetings and conventions there, except I have never heard of anyone voluntarily going to Indiana to begin with.

Maybe GOProud can meet there next year since CPAC doesn't want them.

What a great idea. Make sure to do it on SuperBowl weekend 2012. Let the world know about the real Hoosier losers.

The Hoosier Repugs are in power, and the power is already going to their heads ... they are rabidly going after not only the constitutional marriage and civil union ban, but also banning domestic partnership benefits and over-ruling the metro HRO's ... and before this is over, they might go off the deep end, doing such things as, say, to try to make it illegal for two men to rent an apartment together, or even to sit together in public without a female sitting between them, or equally silly stuff.

But this may backfire, because it illustrates to the more reasonable people how truly tyrannical the Tyranny of the Majority can be. When the level-headed folks in the De-Militarized Zone of the Culture Wars develop an appreciation for the political dangers of such extremism, the Repugs will have generated their own backlash.

P.S. @Drake: For years I have advocated for an LGBT business and tourism boycott against ALL the states that have passed any form of a state constitutional marriage/civil union equality ban -- but we can't be half-assed about it. For such a boycott to make any impact at all we have to be totally united and serious about it.

I think this is going to backfire too, AJ.

Bil, you have far more faith in 'Hoosiers' than I do. I haven't seen any polls, but my guess is that most of them are fine with open discrimination against gay ppl.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | February 20, 2011 8:23 AM

Like it or not, the Superbowl in Indianapolis will mean jobs or at least extra money for our LGBT brothers and sisters in the broad food service. travel and hotel accomodations industries. We've repeatedly called attention to the fact that all this talk of an amendment doesn't create a single job in Indiana. It's hard to recocile those two concepts, and I agree with both A.J. and Bil on this one. It is one thing to boycott an openly homophobic business, although even that one gets tricky if that business discriminates in employment areas against LTBG folks. It's another thing entirely to engage in what's loosely called "secondary boycotts", meaning that third parties, some of them who may well be with us, get hurt in the process. As alawys, part of mature participation in the fight against discrimination is to think things through carefully.

I disagree, Don.

The social conservatives are like kids in a candy shop right now, passing anti-gay legislation, anti-immigrant legislation, and other things from their agenda. However, the ppl who really run the state are the businessmen, and they are already nervous--they are against the anti-immigrant bill for example.

Boycotting IN would get the attention of those pro-business ppl. They don't care about gay ppl or poor ppl or Mexicans or the environment or anything else but money, but hitting the economy would certainly get their attention.

And in central IN, many of the powerful factions see the Super Bowl as a really big deal, the culmination of decades, and they have a lot invested in it. If they thought that negative attention, esp on a national level, might attach to it, they would take notice.

Also, I feel we have to think broader. You are talking one or two weeks of employment for a few ppl relative to the Superbowl, and I am thinking of all the gay ppl in the state, and what this means nationally, and what this means for the next decades.

It's always easiest to look at your immediate convenience and just go along. And then whatever evil they have done to you becomes normal to them, and they feel they need to go farther, so they add more discrimination. At some point you have to sacrifice the now for the future.

I see your argument, Carol ... but Don has a good point, too: How do you conduct a boycott of an entire economic area without also negatively impacting many people who support us?

Same problem as with political embargos -- for years, many people said that boycotting South Africa hurt the South African blacks worse than it did the pro-apartheid whites. Luckily, that battle is behind us all now. But same argument also applies to our ongoing sanctions against Castro's regime in Cuba.

Not to mention that I know Don is a big football fan ... but I'm sure that doesn't affect his opinion on this ... hee, hee ...

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | February 20, 2011 4:41 PM

First of all, A.J. is other half and I are huge Colt's fans, and would participate in Superbown festivities whether or not the home team (as seldom happens) played in that game. However, our game watching is always from out vantage point high on the 50 yard line in our family room in front of a 73 incher (there are size queens in other areas too, ya know). Wouldn't rade if for a nosebleed seat in Lucas Oil Stadium any day, regular season or beyond.

Second, after re-reading Bil's and A.J.s initial comments concerning "backfiring", I suspect I misread them the first time as saying the a boycott, rather than excessive Indiana GOP efforts, could backfire. I think I got it backwards, making me a minority of one.

Let me add this thought: If you're boycotting a singular event, as opposed to perhaps a more general boycott of an area and/or multiple events, especially those where large numbers come from out of town to a limited number of spaces/seats, you need to look at what kind of dent you are likely to make in the attendance. My guess is that as to a Superbowl, while there may well be people deciding not to attend, they would readily be replaced in time by others coveting the chance to do so, with the net result being a full stadium anyway.

That's not to say that while they're here, the can't be given an eye/earfull of our discontent over how we're being treated.

Good point: It's ineffective to boycott something that is in such high demand that your absence will not be noticed either way.

Indiana isn't South Africa. Not Cuba.

It's more like Arizona, which finally gave in to MLK, Jr. Day b/c of boycotts. Oh, and which is being boycotted again due to an anti-Mexican law which is almost the same as the one Indiana is going to pass.

Really, I understand Don's point. However, Indianapolis is trying to set itself up as a big convention destination (it already gets lots of conservative types of groups), and this is the time to use that leverage.

Plus, I am pretty radical (though also hypocritical) about what is going on. I know I have said this before, but I feel that gay ppl should go someplace they are better treated, and where there are enough to have a real impact, kinda like black ppl moving to the North decades ago.

I know there are lots of other factors besides being gay: ppl like to live where they grew up, and with what they know; they want to be close to their families and friends they have known; there are geographic or cultural aspects they like; they can't afford to move, or can't afford to live gay-friendly places, which are much more expensive than the redneck states; or any other number of reasons.

For me, we are close to our families in KY (another horrid state for pretty much anyone who isn't white, str8, and evangelical), and can easily drive down for a weekend. I would love to move to Boston, but my wife would hate it there (she is very Midwestern and old-fashioned, and is scared of big cities--she has only been to downtown Indianapolis twice by herself in 22 years!)), and we would not be able to go to KY very often. Plus we'd be leaving our son behind. Plus I'd be leaving a really good job behind. Plus it's far more expensive there.

So I understand. If I were young and starting over, I'd be gone in a minute, though!

My partner and I have this conversation often, whether it's better to move or stay and fight. If we were invaded by foreign powers who instituded draconian measures, would we flee or fight? Why would we do differently for domestic powers?

For the second time since 2005, the Indiana House has passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. The measure that would amend the state's founding document was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday on a vote of 70-26. This hardly comes as a surprise. I wish it did. Hate abounds in my home state where the lynching of an African-American, the last in the 20th century happened in Marion and where teenagers bullied a classmate to death with gay taunts and rants while educators insisted they knew nothing about it less than a year ago. Leave it to Indiana to keep up with hate legislation.

I understand Don's point. However, Indianapolis is trying to set itself up as a big convention destination (it already gets lots of conservative types of groups), and this is the time to use that leverage. exact same sex couples. what more to expect for the nest generation of indians is this kind of living with moral?

Well, I guess that is what people should expect when anti-gay supremacists are put into office ...