Marla R. Stevens

Indiana as Fundamentalist Dystopia or Patricia Miller's Real Life Handmaid's Tale -- Expanded Hoosier Strategy Version

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | October 05, 2005 1:49 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics

Just call me Offred but, oh, I hope this doesn't portend a trend.

Indiana State Senator Patricia L. Miller is a longtime homohater-in-denial, one of the "some of my best friends are..." kind and a leader of Indiana's overpopulated AIDS Hall of Shame who, among other offences, ignored the constitutionally required things like criminal intent or criminal negligence that make a crime a crime and championed criminalizing HIV transmission even when due diligence to practice safer sex was undertaken and the sex was between consenting adults (ask me later about the related rubber tree story), supported reinstatement of sodomy laws for consenting adults as well as all the usual antigay family laws and more, and tried again and again, by hamstringing and irrationally penalizing mental health professionals, to protect abusive parents not just from the consequences of the recovered memories of their victims but from their children even getting the chance to recover them, and on and on in her long career in a protected district -- all while being the legislative version of a cash cow for doctors and dentists and hospitals and nursing homes and carrying enough water for the wingnut fringe that, if she'd been in a race with the Army Corps of Engineers to empty NOLA, she'd have won.

In her personal life, she's become more and more active in her anti-queer zealotry, most notably as the executive director of the Indiana-based national Confessing Movement of the United Methodist Church and getting wackier in the process even as she's continued to win more than she loses. She's regularly threatened splitting her church (cynically even trying bribe and buyout options to encourage pro-gay clergy and congregations to leave), pushed the worst lies of the so-called "reparative therapists" as justification for her bigotry, and gotten more and more shrilly rabid as the culture has slowly moved in the opposite direction from hers. Not content with despoiling her own church, she's applied her legislative skills to spread her message to other denominations as an architect of the The Association for Church Renewal. And, typically, this wife of a Gideon bible pushing dentist has increased her personal public profile and power at every step along the way.

I have long personal experience with Senator Miller, have always respected her as a tough foe and treasured every time I stymied her bigotry-driven moves. I've thought her sincere in her beliefs and all-too-often sincerely wrong in them, too, but never thought that she'd drunk enough of the koolaid to push her over the edge. I can't say that anymore.

According to several personal sources, confirmed by a press leak picked up by bilerico's Jeff Newman, Senator Miller has legislation in the drafting pipe for the upcoming Indiana General Assembly session that would require women needing physician assistance to become pregnant to file a "petition for parentage" in probate court to receive a "gestational certificate" that would permit receipt of things like artificial insemination by donor and in-vitro fertilization. There would be criminal penalties assessed for "unauthorized reproduction" that apply to physicians and parents alike. And, like the church rules against ordained people in her church having sex outside of marriage that apply unequally onerously to gay people because we are not allowed to marry, the Catch-22 "privilege" of parenting via "assisted reproductive therapy" would be limited to legally married couples who've successfully passed an adoption screening process that asks invasive questions about "values" and personal faith expression that would have the Founders up in arms.

Her reason? Read any of the wingnut propaganda touting false claims of the superior fitness of opposite-sex couples as parents over all the rest of us. The inclusion of het single women in the excluded is as intentional as her movement's more and more boldly unconcealed contempt of them, too.

It is entirely possible that, while Sen. Miller might view this attack with all her usual ernest energy and singlemindedness of purpose, other forces have more tactical designs in mind -- specifically as flash-bang diversions to keep us (and, more importantly, our allies such as the reproductive rights/feminist groups and civil libertarians) from being able to dedicatedly focus on our ongoing civil rights and marriage battles and/or as possible perceived-as-more-draconian shill legislation designed to give legislators who should be standing firmly with us on marriage equality and civil rights an easy out in "but I already gave you my vote against the Miller bill and my constituents in my touch-and-go district just won't put up with me being too good on too much of your legislation at one time" fashion.

The cure for that is to get to legislators earlier than your opponents, properly label never-pass-constitutional-muster shill legislation for the horsepucky it is, insist on being treated as fully human no matter how many ways the wingnuts dream up to try otherwise, then beat the bushes for the large number of phone calls and letters necessary to prove that the public won't stand for a legislated religious orthodoxy of hate.

Start with the Health Finance Study Committee members who will be voting on this in two weeks, then organize your like-minded neighbors for meetings with your own. After you've done that, get back to work on putting the House back in Democrat control and hound your state's organizers until they get the voter identification and education effort for the marriage battle solidly underway.

But be simultaneously aware that Sen. Miller typically starts her 'big (Brother) idea' bills full of outrages then negotiates them down to smaller ones that she can pass in one session and expand on in thousand paper cuts torture for years hence.

Local insiders are saying that this one didn't come from the local Am-Taliban usual suspects, that it emerged full-blown from her -- and only her -- head like some perversion of Athena from Zeus'.

What they're neglecting to notice is that, while she was dependent for fundie guidance on the likes of Eric Miller when she was a newly minted nurse-cum-housefrau-cum-state legislator, she's long since graduated to the Am-Taliban big leagues, where she gets personal input from big-name and big-plans national homohaters who are always crafting legislative language and are perpetually hungry for legislators willing to play guinea pig.

Miller, with her secure seat, leadership cred, serious smarts, and underestimate-at-your-major-peril legislative savvy, is their dream lab animal.

It's possible that this is her idea alone instead of, say, a Colorado Springs-generated big bunch of trial balloons being readied for national flight. It's also more likely that it's the latter, that she'll have lots more help than will be visible and that, as what will pass either legislative or judicial scrutiny becomes apparent, it will spread across the red states like the social disease it is.

I know this sounds impossibly Orwellian-Huxleyian-and-Atwoodian-all-rolled-into-one. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this being introduced in twenty-first century America myself. But if your mind reacts like mine and wants to run to its Happy Place on learning this, please don't let it run too far. Non-Hoosiers, too, be warned: Don't make the mistake of writing this off as the eminently ignorable, going nowhere work of an old wacky Hoosier wingnut. Senator Miller is well-connected and knows extremely well how to transport hate across state lines. This one could be being readied to come to your state, too.

To express your support or opposition of legislation making "unauthorized reproduction" a criminal act, contact members of the Health Finance Commission by telephone (area code 317) or email (Webform links for e-mailing all legislators here):
Sen. Patricia Miller (R-S32) 232-9489
Sen. Gregory Server (R-S50) 232-9490
Sen. Gary Dillon (R-S17) 232-9808
Sen. Beverly Gard (R-S28) 232-9493
Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-S9) 233-0930
Sen. Connie Lawson (R-S24) 232-9984
Sen. Marvin Riegsecker (R-S12) 232-9488
Sen. Billie Breaux (D-S34) 232-9849
Sen. Vi Simpson (D-S40) 232-9849
Sen. Connie Sipes (D-S46) 232-9526
Sen. Timothy Skinner (D-S38) 232-9523
Rep. Vaneta Becker (R-H78) 232-9769
Rep. Robert Behning (R-H91) 232-9981
Rep. Timothy Brown (R-H41) 234-3825
Rep.Mary Kay Budak (R-H20) 232-9641
Rep. Da vid Frizzell (R-H93) 232-9981
Rep. Donald Lehe (R-H15) 232-9648
Rep. Richard Dodge (R-H51) 232-9729
Rep. Charlie Brown (D-H3) 232-9676
Rep. David Orentlicher (D-H86) 232-9991
Rep. Craig Fry (D-H5) 232-9994
Rep. Carolene Mays (D-H94) 232-0243
Rep. Scott Reske (D-H37) 232-9695

UPDATE 10-7-05: As this story is getting hundreds of hits a day, I thought I'd also share with our visitors some of the newer posts that addresses the "Unauthorized Reproduction" bill. --bilerico

09-30: The original breaking of the story on the internet/media
An Evening with Indiana's Finest by Randy Studt

10-03:The first post to closely examine the issue and a leak of an early Nuvo story. Our most popular post.
State Senator Miller Attacks Reproductive Rights by Jeff Newman

10-04: Links to other sources now picking up the story
Pat Miller gets around by Bil Browning

10-05: Analysis and strategy suggestions. One of our other most popular (linked to/visited) posts on the subject.
Indiana as Fundamentalist Dystopia or Patricia Miller's Real Life Handmaid's Tale -- Expanded Hoosier Strategy Version by Marla R. Stevens

10-05: Link and synopsis of another important analysis of the subject
Cognitive Dissonance Resolved by Marla R. Stevens

10-05: Link to the Hoosier GLBT organization taking the lead on killing this bill
You Need To Do This by Bil Browning

10-05: Miller withdraws bill from committee
Unauthorized Reproduction Bill is DOA by Bil Browning

10-07: Link and synopsis of Matthew Tulley column warning that the bill isn't dead
Ding! Dong! This Witch is Still Alive! by Bil Browning

10-07: Link and synopsis of Indianapolis Star editorial
Indy Star on Unauthorized Reproduction Bill by Bil Browning

10-07:Air America picks up the story
Nuvo on Air America by Jeff Newman

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AUTHOR: paula

DATE: 10/05/2005 12:05:09 PM

you can email them all with this mailto link here

AUTHOR: weltatem

DATE: 10/06/2005 10:20:22 AM

What scares me about this is what you imply may be Miller's strategy - introducing draconian, DOA bills that shift later negotiations further to the right.Do you know if this was the process on her abortion bill that was ENACTED last year, requiring providers to inform their patients they can hear the fetal heartbeat before the perform an abortion?Is this latest bill not a loss of face for Senator Miller, but part of a winning strategy?

AUTHOR: Anonymous

DATE: 10/07/2005 10:15:44 PM

how can people like this Patricia Miller even gain seats of authority in our country? This is suppose to be the United States of America land of the free and brave. We the people need to do something about these kinds of people and get them out of out house of legislation. They biggots, and racists. Anyone who will discrimanate against someone else doesn't need to sit in a seat of authority get tem out of there ASAP.

AUTHOR: Anonymous

DATE: 10/07/2005 10:17:16 PM

how can people like this Patricia Miller even gain seats of authority in our country? This is suppose to be the United States of America land of the free and brave. We the people need to do something about these kinds of people and get them out of out house of legislation. They are biggots, and racists. Anyone who will discrimanate against someone else doesn't need to sit in a seat of authority get them out of there ASAP.