If you’re a longtime reader of my blog, you’ll have probably picked up that I live in the good ol’ state of Indiana. We’re in the heart of the Midwest, a veritable hotbed of inactivity, unless you stumble into our capital, Indianapolis, which is a thriving and constantly evolving community.
I’ve lived in Indianapolis for about 23 years. A transplant from Atlanta, I quickly learned that my southern accent was not welcome, so I attempted to adopt the flat, unaffected tone of a “Hoosier.” I still, to this day, have no fucking idea what a Hoosier is. There’s a decided opinion that if you have to ask, you’re not one.
Do I like it here? I do now. Indy has seen a renaissance in recent years, inspired no doubt by the Super Bowl. Thankfully for all of us, the rebirth didn’t peter out after the drunken revelers trekked back home. Something new is created here each day, and I find that exciting.
Stumble outside of the city, however, and you’re confronted with mostly small towns. Farming communities abound. There’s a reason why people think Indiana is all cornfields, and that’s because it mostly is. We have soybeans too. I’ve heard rumors of livestock, but I rarely venture outside of the city without the aid of an airplane, so I can neither confirm nor deny.
Politically, Indiana as a whole tends to lean to the right. Obama won the electoral vote in 2008, but the state changed its mind in 2012 and voted in favor of our old buddies, the Republicans. We’re on the ass end of the bible belt, but I’d consider us more moderate with GOP tendencies.
As for me, if you held a gun to my head and made me pick a party, I guess I’d say I’m a Democrat, although, truth be told, I’m completely disenchanted with both parties at this point. I’m socially liberal and always will be, but when it comes to fiscal matters, I can understand the conservative argument.
I’m a firm supporter of gay marriage. Homosexuality has never been “wrong” to me, so never once had I entertained the idea that two bros shouldn’t enter into a state of legal matrimony. In a country that is oftentimes confused by the concept of love, I see no harm in two people (humans, before any of you accuse me of supporting goat on lady marriage) expressing their commitment to each other the same way that I can. Trite though it may sound, love is love, and I’d love to see more overt examples of it in the world I live in.
That being said…I will always respect that people are entitled to their beliefs. There are many people who are disgusted by homosexuality. It baffles me and irritates me, but in order for anyone to respect my beliefs, I must first respect theirs. To be clear: I do not agree with them. I’d happily engage in an educated discussion with someone who held that belief, but I’m not going to show up on the doorstep of a recognized bigot and challenge their belief system. Most of my philosophy comes from the understanding that change can only happen when you’re ready to accept change. Quitting smoking is a good example. Nobody successfully quits smoking because someone told them to. They eventually go back to it or sneak around to do it. When that person decides “enough is enough. I no longer want to be a smoker,” that’s when they can quit. Until someone shows me that they want to understand why love is universal and not just between a man and a woman, I know I can’t help them understand. Instead I wait until an invitation has been handed to me. TL;DR: I don’t waste my time with close-minded people.
That brings me to the real point of this particular post. In the last election, my state picked Mike Pence as our new Governor. I didn’t vote for him, but wasn’t too terribly disappointed when he was elected. Our last Governor (Mitch Daniels) was also a Republican, and I’m a big fan of his. Many of the good things happening in my fair state can be attributed to him. I’m sure some people disagree with me, but I really don’t give a fuck.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down by the US Supreme Court yesterday. If you didn’t know this, please e-mail me and explain how you’ve managed to get internet in your cave. I’ve considered moving to a cave for a number of years, but the lack of internet connection has always been a concern of mine.
Mike Pence issued a statement that started off as follows:
“I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman and is a unique institution worth defending in our state and nation. For thousands of years, marriage has served as the glue that holds families and societies together and so it should ever be.
“While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, I am grateful that today’s decisions respect the sovereignty of states on this important issue. These decisions preserve the duty and obligation of the states to define and administer marriage as they see fit.
“Now that the Supreme Court has had its say on the federal government’s role in defining marriage, the people of Indiana should have their say about how marriage is understood and defined in our state.”
TL;DR: I don’t believe homosexuals should get married. Now is Indiana’s opportunity to define marriage. (For those of you not from the US, marriage laws are decided per state.)
I don’t agree with Mike Pence that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but I choose to respect his beliefs and opinions, just as I would hope any other person would do for me. As I read his statement, a tiny ball of hope was born inside me. It’s up to us to decide how we want marriage defined in our state. He was recognizing it, encouraging it. That hope was misplaced. I learned this as I read the remainder of the statement.
“Given that opportunity, I am confident that Hoosiers will reaffirm our commitment to traditional marriage and will consider this important question with civility and respect for the values and dignity of all of the people of our state. “
Gov. Pence has extended the invitation for Hoosiers (what the fuck is this even?) to exercise their rights as citizens of this state to define how we want to live as long as it coincides with HIS belief. HIS. Not ours, HIS.
Hey Mike, this isn’t YOUR state, this is OUR state, and if WE decide that we want marriage to be defined as between two people regardless of gender, then you’re going to have to hop onto this crazy train and ride off into the sunset with us.
In fact, we HIRED you to work for US. Your job is to listen to our needs and act accordingly. If this is something that you’re unable or unwilling to do, then perhaps you should find a different mode of employment.
Marriage doesn’t get to be defined by me, and it most assuredly doesn’t get to be defined by you. It gets to be defined by “we the people” of Indiana. For you to use such manipulative language to imply that there would be some disappointment on your end if your people don’t share the same beliefs as you is both egregious and unhealthy for the position you currently hold.
Express your personal beliefs without question, but when it comes to a matter such as this, take a step back and look at what WE want. This isn’t about religion. This is about what’s fair and just. Religion has no place in politics. Your beliefs are best nurtured in your church, not your office.
It could very well be that Indiana decides against gay marriage, in which case you can sit in your office, rub your hands together, and cackle like some political interpretation of Dr. Claw. However, if the people speak and say “this is what we want,” you need to support that decision.
You will be disappointed in Indiana as a whole if we choose to recognize all forms of marriage, but I can tell you right now, emphatically, I am disappointed in you for attempting to sway people to your beliefs instead of allowing them the opportunity to choose what’s right for them.
Shame on you, Gov. Claw. Shame on you.
P.S. If you don’t know who Dr. Claw is, may God have mercy on your soul. Inspector Gadget was the best cartoon of all time. ALL TIME.