Today's Indianapolis Star and the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette both give some column space to the unusual showdown at the Statehouse. For those of you just catching up, Rep Jeff Thompson (R) has offered up an amendment to a House bill currently under discussion (House Bill 1010 - it's about eminent domain!).
Amendment #12 is aimed at the newly adopted Indianapolis Human Rights Ordinance that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The amendment would usurp local government's authority by stating that a municipality may not offer protections to any class of people that aren't already protected by the US or State Constitution or federal law. And we all know that the states LGBT community isn't protected by jack-sh!t here in Indiana. Witness how hard we had to work to gain protections in Indianapolis - and the tireless work others did in Bloomington, Lafayette, Ft. Wayne and Michigan City.
And to add insult to injury, this homophobic jerk won't even say the word "gay" on the floor of the House. Finally when debate had been shut off, he speaks to the press to admit that it's aimed at the Indy HRO. Otherwise, it was just based on high-falutin' ideals.... Right.
One of the hardest working politicians in the land, City-County Councilor Jackie Nytes (D), has the best quote in the Star article. (You might remember that Jackie and Indiana Equality Region 8 won the Indiana Stonewall Democrats awards in 2005.) Jackie and I worked together closely on the Indy HRO and I have to tell you, she is one of the nicest, even-tempered and wise women I've ever met. You really have to have done something to ruffle her feathers. Her quote says how angry she is.
Go get 'em, Jackie. Now the rest of us need to take our own Representatives to task. We have to say that this isn't right. It isn't proper. And it isn't justice.
City-County Councilman Scott Keller, a Republican who helped pass Marion County's gay rights ordinance, said he was befuddled how anti-discrimination ordinances have anything to do with eminent domain.
"Well, this is bad news," Keller said when he learned of Thompson's amendment.
"I think cities around the state should be able to control their own destinies."
Jackie Nytes, a Democrat on the City-County Council, said Thompson should "have the guts to stand tall and really say what he means. To slip this into the eminent domain bill reflects a real lack of courage on his part."
Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell, a Democrat, said the issue belongs at the local level, not the state.
"Our council passed it because it's the right thing for Indianapolis."