500 attend Rally, House Democrats Hide from Constitutents

Rally Attendees
About 500 people attended the Rally in the Indiana Statehouse, organized by Indiana Equality to address SJR-7, the amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and to support the hate crimes bill, which will include sexual orientation and gender identity. There were several speakers, including Candace Gingrich, lgbt civil rights activist and sister of Newt Gingrich.
Great Sign
See all 52 of my photos of the Rally on Flickr
Unfortunately, House Democrats were "in caucus" today, and were "unable" to meet with their constituents to talk about SJR-7, so a group of people, including Indiana Action Network members, IYG Youth and IU Students went to protest outside House Speaker Bauer’s office — chanting "Pat, Pat, come out and talk."
Protesting the Democrats being in Caucus
What happened next? Indiana Equality Lobbyist Mark St. John got angry at the attention being paid to House Speaker Bauer – gee, I wonder why? Maybe you can find the answer in this post on Advance Indiana – and forcefully grabbed Bil Browning of Indiana Action Network – with the cameras rolling.
I’m processing the video of WRTV’s coverage and uploading it to YouTube…
I happened to be standing right there (you can see me in the video), so I heard what St. John said — he fired Bil from his job at Lambda Consulting because Bil “betrayed his trust” in not getting permission for the impromptu protest at Bauer’s office. A while later, after he calmed down, he said that wasn’t going to happen, but I’m not sure what the repercussions will be in the future.
Incidentally, I also saw St. John grab and physically drag by the arm another protester – one of the IYG youth, I believe – away from the protest to have a heated debated about why the Democrats were in caucus – St. John was claiming that it had nothing to do with the Rally or SJR-7. I’m not sure I believe St. John’s claims about why the “caucus” happened. I do know that Representative Orentlicher, who was at the rally and at the impromptu protest after, was actively trying to get Bauer to come out and speak to the protesters.
In all, I hope the day was an effective event, but the fact that people were unable to lobby their Representatives was a pretty striking blow to the cause. The likelihood that all of the people signed up will be able to have face-to-face meetings with elected officials at other times in the future is pretty slim – many people were from out of town, or happened to have this day off work due to the President’s Day holiday. Face-to-face meetings are far more effective than phone calls and emails.

Posted in GLBT Issues, Indiana, Indianapolis, Media, Politics, Religion Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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