I’m going to emphasize my point at the very beginning of this post, rather than toward the end: If you don’t want people to speak on your behalf — to potentially agree to things you don’t agree with, or to make decisions for you — then you have to speak up yourself. If you don’t do that, you bear at least a bit of the blame if someone does something in your name that you wouldn’t do.
The only way that you can get misrepresented is if you don’t represent your own views, from your own mouth.
Why am I saying this? Well, remember back in October, just before the election, I posted a message entitled “Oh my god, Did Bauer just throw us under the bus?” in which then Indiana Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, who is now Majority leader, said this about SJR-7:
“I just think that the only way for (Republicans) not to (continue to) demagogue it is to have a redundancy. It’s too bad it has to go in the constitution, but so be it,” Bauer said. “It’s not worth the time, the trouble, to point out that it’s not a problem (in Indiana), so it’s better just to have the vote and see how it goes.”
Under GOP leadership, both chambers of the General Assembly passed a same-sex marriage amendment last year. The measure must be approved by the newly elected Legislature next year or in 2008 before it could go on the statewide ballot for approval from voters.
At the time, the statement shocked the
hell living shit out of the gay community, who had expected (and been assured) that Democrats were going to continue to fight like hell against SJR-7, including not letting it get heard at all. No one could figure out why Bauer had suddenly thrown in the towel, or suggested that it was okay that gay people aren’t allowed to get married.
Lately some of the speculation about that has come out into the open in the gay community. First Ted Fleischaker, publisher of The Word, printed an editorial in this issue of his paper (PDF download), generalizing that Bauer changed his public stance on SJR-7 because some unnamed “community leaders” told him that the gay community would be okay with SJR-7 succeeding if it helped him get leverage on other issues with Republicans.
Then Gary Welsh took the issue a bit further in a recent blog post by naming the “community leader(s)” who supposedly sold us all down the river so that Bauer could throw us under a bus.
Whether or not that occurred – this much is true: the vast majority of LGBT Hoosiers not only want gay marriage, but they want SJR-7 defeated, as swiftly as possible. The idea that they’d be okay with it passing – universally and patently false.
I myself want to get married more than anything in the world, and if I had a magic wand, I would consign SJR-7 to the lowest depths of hell, along with any person who even thought for a second about supporting it.
So if this did actually happen – the gay community would indeed be justified in raining hellfire and brimstone on the heads of gay “community leaders” who agreed to such a thing. (Not that we have the time to waste energy on doing that now, since first things first – we have to defeat SJR-7.)
HOWEVER – if more people from the gay community communicated with their legislators about what they actually want, no one could get away with saying something like this, if it occurred.
To quote my mother’s favorite Longfellow poem, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” We can’t let other people do this for us. Every single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered person needs to step up, for our own sakes, and that of future generations.