Apparently, I’m Chopped Liver

Hmmmm – I guess my 20,000 visitors a day don’t rate a mention on Indiana Equality’s thank you letter for the Rally organizing…

Many, many other businesses, organizations and bloggers contributed greatly to Monday’s success by promoting participation in the rally. A big thanks to Advance Indiana; American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 62; American Values Alliance;; bloomingOUT; Blue Indiana; First Republicans Forum; Gay/Straight Alliance Indiana; GayIndy.Org; GLBT Resource Center of Michiana; Indiana Black Pride; Indiana Planned Parenthood Advocates; Indiana Progressives PAC; Jewish Community Relations Council; Masson’s Blog; Muncie PFLAG; OUT: Indiana University’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Peoples’ Student Union; Outword Bound Bookstore; Purdue Queer Student Union; Reality Magazine; Spectrum (Ball State University); stAllio!s way; The Word; and Taking Down Words.

Why doesn’t that surprise me?
UPDATE: I got a very nice note from Jon Keep about this:

Hi Steph,
I wanted to offer my apologies, on behalf of IE, for not including A Commonplace Book in the Post Rally email. It has been my experience that when anyone makes a list, you run the risk of omitting someone. That was the case here. Our aim was to recognize those organizations that helped make the rally a success. We very much appreciate the support and the publicity that you gave and in no way meant to exclude you.
Please know that your support, and on going support, is greatly appreciated. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Jon Keep
Indiana Equality

Clearly, I need to be stop being a baby about these sorts of things and not take stuff so personally.

Continue ReadingApparently, I’m Chopped Liver

Video from the Rally

Video of the Rally and Protest outside House Speaker Pat Bauer’s office.
Updated with a better copy of the video…
The young man you see in the foreground here on the left is the fellow that Mark St. John grabbed by the arm and dragged out of the protest to argue about why the Democrats went into caucus during the rally.

Continue ReadingVideo from the Rally

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.

Continue Reading500 attend Rally, House Democrats Hide from Constitutents

Rally Reminder

Please don’t forget there’s a rally tomorrow against SJR-7 at the statehouse — indoors, 1 – 2:30 p.m. in the North Atrium of the Indiana State House, 200 W. Washington St. (enter North Entrance, off Ohio Street). Candace Gingrich will speak at 1:40 PM.
Many of you have President’s Day off tomorrow – please attend the rally. You would not only be doing it for my sake, but for your own; the Indiana Constitution belongs to you, too, and shouldn’t be amended to discriminate against anyone. You’d be striking a blow on behalf of your own rights as well.

Continue ReadingRally Reminder

Rally at the Indiana Statehouse to Oppose SJR-7

A while back, I wrote about SJR-7, the bill to amend the Indiana constitution to eliminate equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and I urged people to contact the legislators responsible for this atrocious piece of legislation.

Well, there’s more you can do.

Indiana Equality is organizing a rally at the State House to oppose this amendment, and to support two other pieces of legislation that help protect lgbt people – a hate crimes bill that covers sexual orientation and gender identity, and an anti-discrimination bill, both of which are being introduced this legislative session.
The rally — called the “Read the Fine Print” — will feature Candace Gingrich, sister of Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

WHAT: “Read the Fine Print!” Rally at the Statehouse
WHEN: Monday, February 19, 2007 from 1:00 pm — 2:30 pm
(Presidents Day)
WHERE: Indiana Statehouse, North Atrium, 200 W. Washington
(Enter off Ohio Street)

Enter the Statehouse using the Ohio Street entrance. Please allow extra time, as you may have to go through security. Also be aware that street parking may be hard to find. The Circle Center Mall garage is only a few blocks away and relatively inexpensive.
Note that this is on President’s Day – a day when many people already have off work — so you can attend this rally. I’ll be there. You will have the opportunity to meet with your legislators at some time during or after the rally to speak your mind if you like (see information on training below.)
You can RSVP that you will be attending at this Indiana Equality link.


You can get training to lobby your legislator prior to the rally, in the morning on the same day. Indiana Equality, Human Rights Campaign, and Stop The Amendment will be providing a two-hour crash course in techniques for constituents to successfully communicate with and educate their State legislators.

WHAT: Lobbying Your Legislator 101
WHEN: Monday, February 19th, 2007 from 9:30am – 11:30am
(President’s Day)
WHERE: Christ Church Cathedral, 125 Monument Circle
COST: $5 (includes training, materials, and continental

Reserve your spot in lobbying training.
Topics of this session will include:
Do’s and Don’ts when talking to legislators
The “Marriage” Amendment

  • Process of amending Indiana?s Constitution
  • Background on the Amendment
  • Facts, talking points, and likely objections

Hate Crimes Legislation

  • How a bill becomes law
  • Background on Hate Crimes legislation
  • Facts, talking points, and likely objections

Street parking may be hard to find. The Circle Center Mall garage is only a few blocks away and relatively inexpensive.

Continue ReadingRally at the Indiana Statehouse to Oppose SJR-7

More Indiana State Legislature Attacks on Gay People

Bills that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered folks in Indiana:

Preference of Marriage Bills
House Bill 1335 (Preference for marriage over other relationships) and House Bill 1202 (Preference for marriage; instruction by schools) – Introduced by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) These two bills, would have Indiana law declare that marriage is preferred, encouraged, and supported over any other domestic relationship. Additionally, it would require that public schools not allow instruction that is contrary to policies established by law concerning marriage. HB 1335 has been assigned to the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee; HB 1202 has been sent to the House Education Committee. Neither bill is yet scheduled for committee consideration. This legislation appears to be in response to the idea among some social conservatives that schools are “promoting homosexuality.”

Patricia Miller’s Resurrection of “Unauthorized Reproduction” Bill
Senate Bill 0273 (Abandoned embryos and adoption matters) – Introduced by Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) Among other things this legislation calls for the Health Finance Commission to study assisted reproduction, infertility, gestational agreements, and surrogacy arrangements. SB 0273 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee; however, no hearing date has been set. The proposed study appears to be an attempt by Sen. Miller to resurrect her unsuccessful proposal to make assisted reproduction illegal for same-sex couples, unmarried couples, and single women.

What to do about it
WHAT: “Our Families Count!” rally
WHEN: Thursday, February 9, 2006 1-3pm
WHERE: Indiana Statehouse North Atrium (200 W Washington Street – Indianapolis)
WHO: Indiana Equality & Friends
WHY: Our families are not second-class! The state shouldn’t teach that they are!
Stand up and let your family be counted! Join Indiana Equality at the Statehouse for the “Our Families Count!” rally February 9.

Representatives from many area groups will be on hand. Guest speakers will start at 1:30! We have many great speakers lined up. You won’t want to miss this historic rally for equality!

Continue ReadingMore Indiana State Legislature Attacks on Gay People

We Kissed Inside The Statehouse

Photo Set: 2005 Rally Against SJR-7

We had a wonderful, successful rally at the Indiana Statehouse yesterday! Hundreds of people showed up with extraordinary signs to protest the SJR7 legislation. We were getting people’s contact information, and of the people who agreed to sign up, we got 757 contact addresses. That was about 3/4ths of the crowd, so we had about 1,000 people attending.

What I was really impressed with was not just the fact that I saw tons of people I knew (some of whom I’d never imagine going to a political rally) but I saw tons of people I’ve never seen before in my life. That’s really amazing, because when you’ve been out in the gay community as long as I have, you tend to think it’s really small and that everyone knows everyone else. It takes something like this to make me realize that we have a HUGE gay community in Indiana.

There were excellent speakers, and according to some of the people who lobby regularly, we made a great impression on some of the legislators. Nobody expected the size of crowd we had. At the end of the rally we went inside to lobby, and ran into Eric Miller’s Advance America bigots as they were leaving. Most of Miller’s crowd were home-schooled kids and christian school kids who get extra credit for being bussed into Miller’s rally.

So we chanted at them and basically screwed up the end of their rally. Stephanie and I were by the doors, and a group of bigots who were leaving started to bunch up to trap us inside, chanting and trying to intimidate us. So we kissed in front of them and freaked them out. It was GREAT! They RAN outside to get away from us. A reporter from the IU School Paper snapped our photo while we were kissing, and then interviewed us, so we’re likely to end up in the IU paper. It was really exciting.

UPDATE: Stephanie and I were quoted in the IU paper but they didn’t include our picture.

Indiana Daily News

Other’s Pictures from the Rally

Scott Barrett’s Photos
Marti Abernathy’s Photos
Scott Barnes’ Photos
Wilson’s Photos

Media Coverage of the Rally

Check out this picture of an anti-gay bigot attempting to punch one of the people from our rally:

South Bend Tribune
Another Story of threatened violence from the bigots from a person at our rally: “The Advance America people were filing out —a small group of 5 or 6 young men approached me holding our big IE sign and one said, ‘Don’t you wish we had some torches?!’ The others laughed and they continued on down to the sidewalk.”

NUVO Story: “God hates gays”
Indy Star
The IndyChannel (RTV6)
WXIN – Channel 59 (Indianapolis)
WIBC/Network Indiana
Associated Press
Courier-Journal (Louisville)
Indianapolis Star (Dan Carpenter column) “Inside the anti-gay crusade”
Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)
Courier & Press (Evansville)
Northwest Indiana Times

Continue ReadingWe Kissed Inside The Statehouse


This is a rally I’m planning on attending to speak out against SJR7, which will put anti-gay hatred into the Indiana constitution.

We are going to step outside of our homes and places of employment for one day – March 8th – to demonstrate and protest – not only against Eric Miller and his pro-marriage rally at the State House – but against the overall, blatant attempt by our lawmakers in Indiana to discriminate against homosexuals. The attempt at writing discriminatory legislation sends a clear message to our community, as well as to the state and country that we, as well as our economic contributions, are not welcome here.

Many of you already know that a bill was filed (SJR7) that will ban same sex marriage in Indiana. In addition to this discriminatory bill, two other bills have been filed:

SJR 585 – ATTACK ON ADOPTION/FOSTERING: This bill will prohibit homosexuals from being foster parents and adopting.

SJR 541 – ATTACK ON DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS: According to the lawyers for employer disputes, this bill will limit eligibility under a state university health plan to an employee of the university and to the spouse and dependent children of the employee.

Eric Miller is the founder of Advance America – a group that deems itself the largest pro-family, pro-church, pro-private and home school, and pro-tax reform organization in the state of Indiana. His pro marriage rally at the State House will seek support for the ban of same sex marriage and civil unions. For more information on Advance America and Eric Miller’s pro marriage rally, visit

Eric Miller’s rally will be taking place at the State House in Indianapolis. And you can bet we will be there – but we are also giving thought to demonstrations statewide on that day since we realize that a trip to Indianapolis may be difficult for most. Watch for info on the organized demonstrations or plan your own peaceful attempt at getting our lawmakers’ attention on this matter.

Outside of attending town hall meetings, writing and calling our lawmakers, volunteering and simply staying informed, watch for more information on ROCKING INDIANA on March 8th. Planning for the demonstration(s) is still in its infancy, but what you should do right now is mark the day on your calendar and watch for more detailed info. Most importantly, plan to do something that day to fight for your rights.

Even if you do not care if you have the right to marry in the state of Indiana, you should be very concerned about the pro-active attempt at writing discriminatory laws that will send a very clear message to everyone in the state, as well as to everyone in the country, that we are second class citizens undeserving of equal rights and equal protection under our laws. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Outside of the aforementioned additional bills filed to discriminate against homosexuals, the wording of the recently filed Hershman bill (SJR 7) may include language that will make broader discrimination possible i.e. as with employment. So if the right to marry, garnering domestic partner benefits and/or fostering and adopting children do not hit home, getting a job and being able to keep it should.

PLEASE take the time; PLEASE make the effort to join us (wherever in the state it you may be) that day. Get your friends, family, neighbors and your children together. THIS WILL BE PEACEFUL! We need to put faces in front of our fight and we need to show the lawmakers in this state that we will not stand for discrimination based upon sexual orientation. We cannot lie down on this one folks! We need to come out in high numbers!

This grassroots effort encompasses folks from various GLBT organizations along with individuals with no particular organization-affiliation. We have put together a volunteer committee for pulling together this and possibly other events. If you would like to participate in organizing, please contact Pepper Partin.

Continue ReadingROCK INDIANA – On MARCH 8th!