Re-printed from GayIndy.Org
Indianapolis--Attendees of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma's annual "Junetoberfest" fundraiser were greeted by a noisy crowd of protesters as they entered the Rathskellar Restaurant on June 13.
About 100 people gathered for the Monday evening protest, which was organized by the Indiana Action Network (IAN) . The group dubbed the protest action "Defending Our Neighborhoods, Defending Our Families," conveying the message of defending the attack on GLBT families with a reference to they hypocrisy of Bosma's choice of locations.
"This neighborhood has the highest concentration of GLBT businesses in the state of Indiana." stated IAN President Jerame Davis, "bigotry is not welcome in any neighborhood, and certainly not here. It's simply unconscionable that Brian Bosma is raising money in this neighborhood only to use it against its residents."
Bosma is a leading proponent of anti-GLBT legislation, and as House Minority leader orchestrated the walkout of the House Republicans when then-Speaker B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) refused to hear the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. When Republicans gained control of the House in the 2004 election, Bosma made the amendment one of his top priorities, claiming "this is the most critical piece of the peopleâ€™s business."
The Rathskellar was also targeted by many of the protesters, with signs saying "Shame on the Rathskellar" and shouts to anyone entering the building to not patronize the popular German restaurant. This was the eighth year running that Bosma has held his fundraiser at the Rathskellar, which is located in the historic Athanaeum building on the corner of Massachusetts and Michigan Ave.
The tone of the protest was peaceful but noisy, with protesters shouting "stop supporting bigotry" and "shame" at the attendees as they entered. At one point tensions rose when an attendee became angered at having his photograph taken by a protester and physically confronted her. The confrontation was broken up without police intervention, and the man was allowed to enter to angry shouts from the crowd, but without further incident.
Three other attendees of the Bosma event raised middle fingers at the crowd and received angry but non-violent reactions from the protesters, several of whom had brought young children to the family-oriented demonstration.
After the Bosma event began, a group of about 35 protesters moved to the alley next to the Rathskellar's Biergarten, the outdoor area where the event was being held. Chants of "Shame" and demands for the attendees to leave were shouted from the alley and clearly heard by Bosma's guest.
Soon, much of the crowd moved from the sidewalk in front of the facility to the alley to join the shouting at the Biergarten, and Davis delivered an impassioned speech with a megaphone, the sound of which echoed off the walls of the massive building.
"You can't say you're for human rights when you want to keep us from visiting our sick or dying partners in the hospital, when you want to rip children from the arms of loving parents, or when you'd like to keep health insurance and other benefits from certain Hoosiers" he said.
"The management of the Rathskeller and the Athenaeum foundation, which owns this beautiful piece of architecture, should not allow the dark cloud of bigotry and hatred that follows Brian Bosma to ever return to Mass Ave."
As the protest was underway, approximately 50 people attended an IAN fundraiser at Aesop's Tables a few block away, where the protest chants were clearly audible to the attendees who had gathered on the patio of the popular Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant.