Bil Browning

Touch a nerve?

Filed By Bil Browning | January 24, 2007 5:06 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: fundamentalists, hypocritical motherfuckers, scandal

Wow. Did I touch a nerve?

The responses have been almost overwhelming. I've been deluged with e-mails and the blogosphere has lit up like a signal fires on the mountainsides. I thought I'd share some highlights:

I was asked to be on Abdul in the Morning (1430AM WXNT). I'll be appearing tomorrow morning from 8am-9am. Tune in. If someone can record it for me, I'd be eternally grateful (or at least for a little while!). While I've been on the radio several times to represent various groups or causes, I've never been asked on just for myself - or the blog. Rather cool, eh?

The tip line has been overflowing. I've read gossip, seen old newspaper articles, been suggested sources and even had an offer to pay for a private investigator if I found anything that needed pictures or a recording! One person sent it out as a MySpace bulletin - if you're on there, add me as a friend and then send out your own bulletin.

Keep 'em coming, guys. Tell me what you've got - and ask around too. Send a link to the post to your personal mailing list and ask them to help me out if they agree with me.

The most amazing thing about this is that there has only been one negative post on the blogosphere about my decision. So far, only one commentor has expressed some distaste. That shocks me actually. This was a very hard decision for me to make - whether or not to launch "all out war."

But as I said in my last post, I'm fed up. I'm tired of being the punching bag. I'm tired of my relationship not equaling everyone else's - being second class. I'm tired of worrying about whether or not I'll be accepted because of my sexuality or whether I should come out to my employer/co-worker/landlord/whomever. I'm tired of hypocrites who beat their spouses, screw around, drink too much, do too many drugs, ignore their kids, pay for hookers, have abortions, take bribes or whatever it is that they have stuffed in their closet making judgments on my morals while beating me with the stick that is government. They call this an attack on marriage, but I only see them playing offense.

I played nice when I organized the community to pass the human rights ordinance. We did everything with smiles and flowers and love. We did it the Martin Luther King way. But this time they're not just trying to be able to fire me. I can find another job. They're not trying to be able to kick me out of my house. I can find a new place to live.

They're trying to delegitimize my relationship with my partner and our child. And I will fight for that. I will fight with everything that I have in my being - like a mother cat for her kittens. They've gone too far. This is a frontal assault on my family by a group of fundamentalist bigots. So, as the commentor suggested, I'm turning more Malcolm X than MLK.

But what do you think? Is it fair? Is it worthwhile as a strategy? Am I misguided? Do you have a better way? Let's have it.

See the blogs that have linked to the story after the jump:

UPDATE: See the following links for more posts on about this topic:
The Dirty Underbelly - the original post
Touch a nerve? - the followup
The story gets out - list of bloggers linking to the post
You're mad too? Welcome to IAN - A way you help to channel some of your anger
"What You People Should Do" - Chris Douglas weighs in
Battling Legislative Hypocricy - Don Sherfick speaks
Looking for Specifics - some info I need based on tips that I've gotten
Weekend Roundup - A roundup of posts on the site and more blogs that are linking to the post

A Commonplace Book - bilerico's new policy
Advance Indiana - Fighting Back
Here Comes Johnny Yen Again... - We Can Win the War on Hypocrisy
Indiana Barrister - Culture War of Nerves!
Indy Star (RiShawn Biddle) - Desperation isn't a good political strategy
Masson's Blog - Bilerico: On Throwing Stones from Glass Houses
Ramblings from a Lesbian Poly-Sci Student - No Special Rights for Heterosexuals
Sardonic Bomb - Getting Even
Shakespeare's Sister - Wednesday Blogwhoring

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I noted that from the list of people who've commented, the one guy who objected to your policy is a straight guy. Then I started wondering why... Hmmm. Do you have something to tell us, Rishawn?

Is it fair to use the GLBT community as a whipping post over and over and over? Is it fair to court us for our vote or our donation and then throw us under a bus because of some back room deal? Is it fair to make long term decisions about our future and our families and casually throw out "don't take it personally, it's just politics"? Is it fair for all of the many unmarried senior couples that this will affect or is it fair for all of the domestic violence victims that will not be protected? What about the financial difficulties that employees of universities will be facing when domestic partner benefits are revoked? Not much about any of this that is fair. Or right. Or good.
They made these rules and apparently fairness has never crossed their minds. Why should it cross ours now?

This is the right fight, Bil. If these hypocrites want to moralize, then let them, and we'll just tell the truth. Nothing creates fear in a politician more than the truth.

Your instincts are pretty spot-on, Bil.

As I mentioned before, just be careful. These folks are ruthless.

I'm still concerned that the Amendment is even being discussed. When Speaker-in-Waiting Bauer reversed his long-standing opsition in Sept., and said he'd allow a vote on this matter, we should've railed on him.

The Democratic Party, and a few targeted races in particular over the years, did not hesitate to beat a path to our doors seeking help. Now we're, as the blogger above noted, thrown under the bus. I've heard the explanations for "allowing" this to happen. They are all lame, at best.

So, in addition to being angry at the hypocrites, which I am, it is also distressing that Mr. Bauer flipped on us and got almost no grief for it.

We need to help these candidates when we can. But we need to hold them accountable, too. Because it appears there is no price to pay for betrayal.

All that being said, I can't wait to hear your report card. Some of these clowns need to have their boxers exposed.

We've got time...let's keep our fingers crossed.

Good luck again.

KIFAYA! Nice to see you back Bil.

I'm a straight, married, Republican soccer mom type who supports you here, Bil. The anti-gay agenda is out of control. And for what it's worth, many of my friends with similar backgrounds agree. This isn't a Democrat-Republican issue anymore -- it's about old time thinking and a lack of compassion.


I'm listening to you on AM 1430 at this very moment, and the questions and comments you're getting from listeners calling are very telling. It would seem that most know absolutely nothing about SJR-7, save that it has something to do with "Gay Marriage."

The woman from Indiana Family Action is typical of those who support SJR-7. I am simply amazed that these people cannot see what an affront the Marriage Discrimination Amendment is to decent, thoughtful people.


One caller, (Melody?), just doesn't get it. We (gay people) shouldn't have to jump through hoops to protect our families and our assets.

This latest caller (Mark) is an asshole. I'm amazed at hateful, bigoted rhetoric I'm hearing from these people. Do they have no compassion? Would they support an institutionalized ban on interracial marriage as well?

Marla R. Stevens | January 25, 2007 9:17 AM

Too often such folks see our quest for rights as a threat because they misperceive it as a zero sum game. Certainly tax benefits are but it's hardly right or fair for some to get access to more by unfairly denying equal access to others. But most rights are not a zero sum matter. Opposite-sex couples do not, for instance, lose the right to civil marriage when same-sex ones gain it.

Another basic fallacy that many have bought is the notion that guaranteeing rights is granting of privileges when, instead, it's merely righting of wrongs. Nobody seeks to be treated wrongly so they can get redress of it.

Good points, Marla. How do we communicate this to those who have yet to be educated on the issue?

Marla R. Stevens | January 25, 2007 10:59 AM

1. We identify those who are already with us and encourage them to express that to those who have the votes in the most direct and immediate means possible (in decreasing order): face-to-face, voice-to-voice, written communication, in public forums, in legislative testimony, by letters to the editor, etc.

2. We ask them to help us identify more and motivate them to action -- who in their circle can they ask or give us permission to ask on their behalf for help; do they have a forum in which to speak -- a church group, bridge club, family reunion, Rotary Club, etc.; can they donate money and other resources to help us reach more and/or help us raise money?

3. We move from the retail to the wholesale, using free media as much as possible -- including doing actions that gain free media from rallies to declarations such a Bil's here that get people talking about the issue. Talk is in our favor -- even when people are made nervous or even disapproving of the tactic that has gotten them talking (short of violence attacks against sentient beings). We raise money to purchase media as we can.

We educate people who stand with us about how to speak articulately and effectively with those who are in the moveable middle. We confront those who are not with us not with the goal of changing them but in order to establish with those we can change that our cause is just and that they lie, cheat, and manipulate shamelessly and hypocritically in pursuit of wrong.

We actively support those who support us.

We astutely count the votes and strategize and allocate our resources accordingly, replacing those who will not change as we can and marginalizing those we cannot replace as much as possible through exposure of their wrongdoing and hypocrisy and through arguments on the merits of the issue that are expertly expressed variously with expertise, good will, and ridicule as appropriate.

Regular viewer here. I do not often comment. Gay & elected official here. Not sure if this is the direction we want to go. Someone convince me. I was not convinced this morning on the radio. I felt, while Bil was well-spoken, he sounded vindictive and attacking. Remember my opinion only.

Bil, you presented a well reasoned interview with Abdul this morning, thank you! Hopefully, a few more will get that the marriage amendment threatens any and all legal protections drawn up by all unmarried couples.

Given today's miserable divorce rate, I'd also be mighty concerned (or ecstatic) to find myself heading into divorce court with one of those soon to be null and void pre-nuptial agreements, ouch!

I like all but one thing you've suggested. I'm all for outing gay public officials who are anti-equality in legislation, for exposing criminals serving in the legislature (including abusers, etc) and going at this full-force to counter the spewing hatred coming out of Indiana's government and so many others.

My problem is abortion.

First of all, abortion is a medical decision. And like I said at, sex lives are personal but medical history is confidential, and should remain that way. I am pro-choice, I hate that so many women who have had abortions are so vehemently anti-choice, and I'm sickened that some use their power as legislators to push anti-choice laws, but abortion-shaming is much worse.

Second, from a progressive blog, I'm shocked to see abortion in the company of "hypocrites who beat their spouses, screw around, drink too much, do too many drugs, ignore their kids, pay for hookers, take bribes..."

Really? Abortion is equal to domestic abuse, cheating, and snorting coke, in your book? That's painful to see from someone who is on the right side of this fight.

Full disclosure: I am straight, so the stakes are higher for me personally with abortion. But politically I feel they are equally important as "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Forgive the cliche.

I can see the point on abortion. I don't think it was meant in the same way it was taken, however. I think the point here is that we have anti-abortion proponents who call themselves right-to-lifers, yet they've had abortions or forced their wives to do so. These same people are voting for SJR-7 under the same guise of "family values."

Agreed, it probably wasn't the most eloquently written, but the sentiment is valid. These people are hypocrites.

Wow - it's not often that I have the problem of keeping up with all of the comments. :) Let me go through with some responses, please.

1) Morgan - what the hell does KIFAYA mean? It sounds positive! *grins*

2) Anne, Steph, Lori, Kay, various Anons and everyone else - Thanks for the words of encouragement. I appreciate all the support everyone has been showing. Anne, I promise not to hold the "Republican" part against you. :) I hope you come back often to visit and opine.

3) Michael - thanks for listening to the interview. Same to Terry and Kay. Terry, I can appreciate what you're saying. As I said, this wasn't an easy move for me to make. You're right - I am desperate and at this point in life I'm feeling vindictive. On the other hand though, it's gotten folks talking about SJR-7 again!

4) Marla - thanks for taking the time to explain some things better than I ever could. Keep up the fight! I know we can count on you!

5) StotheL - Wow. You bring up a really interesting point that I hadn't thought about. Jerame's right in what I was aiming for - the hypocrites who want to take away a woman's choice while forcing their wives to have an abortion or having one themselves. Most of these same folks are the ones beating the marriage amendment drum too. I lumped them together.

Do I think having an abortion makes you equal to a domestic abuser? No, of course not. But I do want to point out the sheer bigotry and hypocrisy involved in saying one thing while doing another. As for "abortion shaming" though, I think you have a valid point that I didn't consider. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I'll leave it out of future lists of no-nos.

"Remember my opinion only."

Terry, why should I remember only your opinion, and not those of others?

I appreciate the clarification, Bil, and thanks for giving my comment some thought. I love that from Massachusetts I just had a teeny bit of impact on gay rights in Indiana! Keep fighting.

We're working to keep marriage equal and legal here, every day, and I'll have you in mind next time I'm protesting at the state house.

As for the hypocrites who have or coerce abortions and then work against keeping them safe and legal, I hope they meet judgement in this lifetime. And I hope it's their own base that exposes them.

"Gay & elected official here. Not sure if this is the direction we want to go. Someone convince me."

It's very basic--it's really the Golden Rule. You treat others well because then you get treated well. You treat others as you would like to be treated -- and as you (and us all) deserve to be treated.

If you treat others badly and try to deny them rights that you enjoy, you might get treated badly. It's only a problem for those who are saying and working towards denying rights while they themselves are doing wrong.

Go for it. As long as people are depriving others of their basic human rights, I think their own choices are fair game. I'm normally opposed to shaming and outing, but I think you're right.

Marla R. Stevens | January 26, 2007 9:39 PM

Regarding abortion:

It would be dead wrong to shame someone for having an abortion but not wrong to expose the hypocrisy of having one at the same time one was an activist against them, especially when that political position and activism remains intact.

Abortions, as medical procedures, are in the realm of the private as long as the source of the information about them is directly related to a wrongful disclosure of medical records, including wrongful disclosures by medical personnel who have an obligation not to disclose. Invasions of medical privacy are not acceptable. But not all disclosures about abortions are invasions of medical privacy.

The abortion in question, for instance, was no longer in the realm of privacy or even secrecy, as the person who had had the abortion was the one revealing the information -- in this case to expose the political hypocrisy of her ex-husband.

As such, it was legitimate to discuss and, as the ex-husband is the very self-righteous author of SJR-7 who is an anti-abortion activist and was at the time but purportedly insisted his Catholic ex-wife have it, took her to have it, and paid for it, it's very much fair game to say so.

It is not the abortion under attack, it's the hypocrisy. I'm very sorry that the ex-wife is suffering from having acquiesced to what she says was his demand when it went against her own beliefs. I hope women in similar situations get the support they need to make the choices they can live with, whatever those choices are.

As her ex-husband sought a divorce shortly after this, it lends credence to her implied claim that his motive was convenience -- the very thing his movement claims as a reason to ban reproductive choice and certainly blows holes in his stated belief in the sanctity of marriage.