I’m writing to the citizens of Indiana regarding Senate Bill SJR-7, the anti-gay hate bill that just passed the Senate and will be moving to the house soon.
It’s fascinating to me that at the turn of the last century, Indianapolis was a mover and shaker on the national cultural scene. This city was at one time a hotbed for jazz music, a host of a major league baseball team, the home of nationally recognized artists (TC Steele, James Whitcomb Riley) and a breeding ground for national political figures. Indianapolis used to be a hot, hot town.
What happened to kill all of that? What turned us into the cultural backwater that we are today? The rise of the KKK and cultural conservativism in the 1920’s and the scandal and corruption that resulted from it. Bigotry and hatred sunk the state before, it’s going to do so again.
Gay rights advocates have been pointing out, correctly, that this bill will kill economic development in the state of Indiana, because companies will not be willing to move their businesses to a state where the goverment is bigotted to their employees. This bill’s strong wording WILL invalidate benefits that companies are currently providing for their employees, and that’s exactly the agenda that extremist hate groups like Eric Miller’s are aiming for.
It goes beyond big companies not moving to Indiana. If this state puts this hate and bigotry into the constitution, it means that people like me will leave the state. There will be a brain drain where thousands of the best and brightest pick up and move, and I will be one of them. And YOU NEED ME. If you want this state to recover and have a bright and healthy future, you need me, specifically, and thousands like me, to stay in Indiana.
You can start all the cultural initiatives that you want, you can move that “Big Red Arrow” all over the city, but if you don’t have people like me to attend your cultural events and write about them, to stimulate thought and ideas, to create art and visual work, to talk about the joy of living in Indianapolis and Indiana, it won’t mean anything.