My Thoughts on SJR-7

The SJR-7 legislation to amend the Indiana constitution is going to be heard in committee tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. The committee will meet in the Senate Chambers – 3rd floor of the Indiana Statehouse (200 W. Washington Street in Indianapolis).

Everyone is invited to attend – a good crowd against the legislation will make an impact, so if you can come, please do. There will be an hour of testimony against the legislation. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to say anything, because they probably have some people lined up to speak already, but if I got a chance, here’s a rough cut of what I might say:

The average Hoosier, if they read this legislation on a ballot, is not going to understand it. They’re not going to realize how flawed the legislation is; that it doesn’t just affect gay and lesbian Hoosiers, but it also affects them. They’re not going to realize that it can invalidate the domestic violence laws that protect them (as it has in Ohio) or that it can repeal their health care benefits if they work for the government, or that it can affect their financial arrangements and their relationships with people they love.

And unfortunately, we are small minority of people. We don’t have the numbers to knock on every door and explain to every Hoosier how damaging this legislation can be not just to us, but to them.

So Hoosiers may see this on a ballot and vote for it out of ignorance.

But you’re not. You legislators know what this amendment really means. You know that it’s considered flawed, because we’ve explained it you you, and we’ve had legal scholars analyze it and tell you. We shown you what’s going on in Ohio, and we’ve testified about how it tears apart gay and lesbian families.

You can’t claim ignorance on this.

So if you vote in favor of this legislation, you’re acting with malicious intent. And we are here to be witnesses to that.
If you wrote this legislation, if you vote for it, if you support and defend it… If you engrave this flawed piece of intolerance into the Indiana Constitution, we’re here to let you know that you’re names will be engraved with it. We’ll etch your names in stone, right next to it, so your legacy will be clear.

So that five years or so from now, when it people see the devastation this causes gay families, and when the average Hoosier realizes how it affects them, too… and when people start to say, “who wrote this crappy amendment?” they’ll have a handy, permanent reference point.

And 50 years from now, when you grandchildren come back to extract this painful piece of bigotry and intolerance out of their constitution like a bad tooth (and I have faith they will, because I believe in the goodness of mankind) they will do so with a sense of shame – because they will see your names – their names – attached to this, and they will know that their parents or grandparents gave them this legacy.

Think about this. 50 or 100 years from now, no one will remember who you are, or what you voted on. They won’t know if you’re good or bad. But they’ll know you voted on for intolerance, because we’ll be standing as silent witnesses to it, and we’ll make sure they remember you for this.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Those are great points Steph! Those are the arguments we should have been making all along.

  2. Steph Mineart

    I really think we have done a good job of making the points to legislators – but that reality of not having enough people to convey the information to regular Hoosiers is really tough nut to crack.

  3. MJ

    Hope your testimony went well, Steph! Please post an update for us worker bees.

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