Chris Douglas

The Choice of Place and Time

Filed By Chris Douglas | October 17, 2005 9:12 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
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1. Daniels comments on nondiscrimination in the private sector are insufficient, inadequate, and indefensible.

2. I re-affirm my comments in 2004 that a legislative expansion of protections for glbt citizens will be the measure by which Governor Daniels should legitimately be judged, and that I believe he will be judged favorably. (I made this statement after the 2004 elections. In the course of the 2004 elections, I made observations about where Daniels stood relative to his opponent in matters of public policy, with the observation that the candidate that moved the ball the farthest forward in campaign would move the ball the farthest forward in office, and that the glbt community should support whoever that might be.)

With these caveats, I make the following observations:

First, the Governor has been under a barrage of attack from the religious right for his nondiscrimination policy incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity, with too little support emanating from the gay community, which has throughout been far too quiet while the leading policy in the state has been under determined and aggressive siege.

Second, nobody (neither Indiana Equality to my knowledge nor certainly the Governor's office) is prepared at this moment to announce the introduction of an amendment to the state civil rights code. For the Governor in any way to signal support at this time for an amendment to the State's civil rights code is to produce the conditions for pre-emptive mobilization of the our opponents across the state against his office and our interests. (The Governor cannot proactively endorse a county-level ordinance without begging the question of why the same would not be appropriate at the state level; the same obviously would be appropriate.) Such a signal from the Governor's office would surrender to the press and to the opposition any control over the pace and timing of amendment discussions. Instead, the coordination and direction of an amendment to the state civil rights code must be in the pro-active control of Indiana Equality in association with its allies and in coordination both publicly and privately with its political supporters.

Third, while the governor affirmed his belief that businesses should make their decisions within the bounds of existing civil rights statutes (and affirmed his own nondiscrimination policy), he endorsed the control the freedom the citizens of the county have to decide the rules. In so doing, note that the governor declined to endorse the view of conservative Republican members of the City-County Council that businesses have a right to discriminate against the LGBT community. Instead, he denied that businesses have any such right, and affirmed his own administration's views of discriminatory practices. Show that to Ginny Cain, Scott Schneider, Isaac Randolph, and every other Republican who voted against the amendment.

Finally, as any good Republican, the Governor expressed his reluctance to see rules imposed top-down on the whole state or all citizens. Of this carefully worded sentence, two observations are appropriate. First, the Governor expressed no opposition. Second, I suggest that the Governor has allowed room to finish the sentence in more than one way. I will make the following statement whole-heartedly, finishing the sentence in no way inconsistent with the all the Governor has said: "I'd be reluctant to see nondiscrimination laws imposed top-down on the whole state or all citizens, but liberty, justice, the equal protection of the laws, and the persistence of incidious discrimination against decent citizens leave us no other choice."


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AUTHOR: Bil Browning

DATE: 10/17/2005 11:01:11 PM

I think a commenter on Jeff's previous post had it correct. Daniels has erased a lot of the goodwill that the LGBT community had for him in one fell swoop. And, let's be honest, the best thing he's done for us was to have a non-discrimination policy for his campaign. All he did otherwise was simply reauthorize an existing policy for state employees. He didn't stand up against SJR7, he's come out against the Indy HRO, what else has he done?I think you're much better sticking with your first point and leaving it there.


AUTHOR: Advance Indiana

DATE: 10/17/2005 11:26:39 PM

Chris,With regards to your comment that Governor Daniels has received too little support from the GLBT community for his EEO policy, I take offense. I have offered as spirited of a defense of the attacks he has been under from the Christian right as possible. I'm also a Republican who voted for him. For my efforts, I have not heard one positive comment from anyone in Governor Daniel's administration. In fact, the only comment anyone there has made was a comment by a senior aide to a prominent journalist complaining that bloggers at Advance Indiana and bilerico were creating problems for him by drawing attention to his EEO policy. That tells me that he simply wanted to release the EEO in the dark of the night and never have to say another word about it (note--there was no press release when it was put in place).I don't disagree with you that it was not Daniels place to get involved in the HRO--he shouldn't be telling a local city council what it should do. On the other hand, he shouldn't be telling them that he believes private employers should be left alone--by so doing, he is, in effect, opposing the HRO in Indianapolis or any other community proposing a similar measure. His comments will undermine Scott Keller's efforts to get additional Republican support on the council. Contrary to your assertion, he clearly says that a business should be allowed to discriminate if they so choose. I don't know how you can argue otherwise.I also didn't expect him to comment at this time on a state civil rights law (at least until it is formally offered as legislation)or the pending ENDA proposal in Congress for that matter. But he did, and he made it clear he opposed both. He could have told the Star reporter that he simply did not believe it was his place to meddle with city council matters and left it at that. He did not.Why didn't he. He wanted to send a clear signal to the Christian right that he had done all he was doing for the GLBT community. He was drawing a line in the sand--that is as far as I'm going. And what do you want to bet that he will say he supports the constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages and civil unions prior to the next election.You can try to sugar coat it all you want, but Governor Daniels is a very smart man who has a law degree. He knew exactly what he was saying, and no one in the GLBT community should be defending his statements. Nothing short of a retraction and apology will assuage me.Gary


AUTHOR: Jeff Newman

DATE: 10/18/2005 08:00:53 AM

I'm always reluctant to put words in a politician's mouth whether they be words to make them look favorable or unfavorable. If Governor Daniels wants to publicly take ownership of the new sentence Chris has written for him that's another story.Regarding the GLBT community's support for the governor for his non-discrimination policy, I frankly think he's done pretty well, at least among non-partisans (admittedly there are some GLBT Democratic partisans who would dislike Daniels if he personally performed same-sex wedding ceremonies on the statehouse steps).As you know, the site that I serve as volunteer webmaster, GayIndy.Org, is the leading local GLBT community website, and Gov. Daniels was the subject of an Action Alert (which is normally reserved for negative action) asking for "thank you's" for his non-discrimination policy. Dozens of people sent the governor praise. Yes, I too wish it were hundreds, but the response was as good or better than anything else I've put on the site asking for response from the community. Put it this way: more people contacted the governor to thank him for non-discrimination than showed up for the IAN protest of Brian Bosma.Also, the local GLBT blogs were all gushing with praise; you can google and still find it. From what I've seen of Indiana's GLBT community, he received about as much support as can be mustered, especially for a Republican in an era when the Republican party has sadly taken a far-right turn.


AUTHOR: Chris Douglas

DATE: 10/18/2005 08:50:15 AM

These are not abstract questions, to be resolved by debate. It is time and events that either will or will not produce concrete legislative progress, that will tell who's interpretation of reality is correct.


AUTHOR: kay

DATE: 10/18/2005 02:03:11 PM

Reality is determined by the facts as they are known, not resolved by predicting or waiting for what may or may not happen in the future. If your main priority is simply the best interests of the GLBT community than wouldn't it be better to stop the spin and let Daniels words speak for themselve—not create more denial of reality.


AUTHOR: Chris Douglas

DATE: 10/18/2005 05:56:42 PM

My effort is to provide an informed understanding of events that impact our progress towards civil rights in this state, and to offer an alternative, and I believe accurate, reading in contrast to what I consider to be defensible, but erroneous, interpretations of reality. (Maybe I should indeed leave it to the political science students of tomorrow to discuss the byzantine processes, back rooms and code words by which policy progress is acheived in the face of determined opposition. But I hate to see people on our side go barking down the wrong alley.)I believe that those who today judge Daniels to be in opposition to nondiscrimination measures will find their positions difficult to hold as events progress on this topic.


AUTHOR: Kay

DATE: 10/18/2005 09:45:43 PM

'You hate to see people on our side go barking down the wrong alley.'Not as much as I hate seeing our side putting lipstick on a pig—encourageing others to believe it changes the nature of the beast.