I'm fed up. I'm sick and tired of seeing LGBT rights advance around the nation. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against our community gaining acceptance and respect in general. I'm just irritated that it seems to be happening everywhere but here.
When I look around the country and see what's been happening, it fills me with hope for our brothers and sisters in the community. It's all I can do. Hope. Because I live in Indiana.
While New Jersey and New Hampshire have adopted civil unions and California's Assembly has passed a marriage equality bill, Indiana narrowly defeated an amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Colorado just passed an inclusive non-discrimination law. Colorado - known for it's far right leanings and home of Focus on the Family. In Indiana, a similar bill can't even get heard in committee in the House and would die automatically in the Senate.
The North Carolina House has just passed a bill to ban bullying on the basis of sexual orientation. Recently, the Indiana Senate tried to ban gays and lesbians from adopting or even having artificial insemination. Didn't North Carolina secede from the Union once so they could keep being prejudiced against other people? Weren't we on the "All men are created equal" side of that war? When did we flip sides?
Dallas may elect its first openly gay mayor. Same for Ferndale, Michigan. Do you even know where in the hell Ferndale is in Michigan? I didn't without Google maps. (It's just outside of Detroit.) Indiana has elected one openly gay person - a school board member.
And then here comes the best part... I'm sitting on my front porch working on this post when a tall rather-good-looking older fellow approaches and hands me a piece of paper. He's the pastor of one of the nearby Baptist churches. Yeah, I'm sure you can already guess how this one ends up...
He invites me to his church. I politely decline. He asks why. I tell him. And the next question out of his mouth is, "So you believe that there's nothing morally wrong about the gay lifestyle?" He says this incredulously, as if I've calmly told him I like to eat raw babies and rinse with toilet water. Needless to say, that started a discussion.
I have to say, the conversation went rather well. We argued back and forth about the Bible and what right God had to influence public policy. I tend to get rather serious in these types of discussions, but even the minister got a laugh out of one line of mine...
Bil: Jesus abolished all of the old laws. If eating shellfish is no longer against the law, then neither is homosexuality.
Pastor: But he didn't get rid of all of the laws. Some stayed. You know, stuff like murder, rape, gravity...
B: Show me the Law of Gravity in the Bible.
P: God made all the natural laws.
B: Show me "Thou shalt not float in the air" and I'll show you a bunch of sinful helicopter pilots. Start preaching against them for a while.
I know I didn't change the man's mind, but I hope I put a spark in his brain that might fire occasionally. He actually took note when I pointed out how anti-homosexual preaching could lead to hate crimes and violence against our community. He admitted that I was right on quite a few things, as was he. We both listened to each other and civilly discussed our disagreement. And we parted as, while not friends, respected acquaintances.
Then I think back to all of the bitching and moaning I was doing about Indiana. While everything I said is true, there is one big benefit to living here in a fly-over state. Hoosiers may be slow to change, that's true. But they also tend to favor equality over prejudice. None of the horrible legislative attempts I listed have succeeded. Fellow Hoosiers may not be ready to fully accept us, but they don't usually go out of their way to hate us either.
Like a huge boulder, it's hard to get public support rolling the way you want it to. We've finally stopped it from rolling backwards. Now we just have to start moving forward. The question is: What's the best way to do that?