Jerame Davis

Indiana Equality: The jester of Mitch Daniels' court

Filed By Jerame Davis | November 11, 2008 11:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement

I recently received an invitation from Indiana Equality to an event at the Governor's residence they're calling "Holiday IN the Governor's Residence". Beyond the totally dorky name, as I read this email invitation, I was both amused and infuriated.

Obviously, the dumb name stood out, which is why I even read the email. As I read, I noticed the grammar errors, spelling errors, and clear signs of poor editing. These little errors amused me because it used to be my job to catch these errors before they went out to thousands of email addresses across the state and country.

Indiana_Governor's_Residence.jpgCheck out this sentence: "Undergoing major renovations that were completed in 2007, the Governor's residence is a wonderful setting..." So it's undergoing renovations that were completed last year - must be some kind of strange ripple in the space-time continuum on north Meridian Street. It made me chuckle.

But the most egregious mistake was nothing to laugh at - they completely misspelled the name of a major donor. (It's Oesterle, guys - not Osterle - $10K is a lot of money!) That's just rude! I dashed off an email response poking a little fun at my former cohorts for the ridiculous errors, but then I got to thinking about the event itself a bit more.

That's when I got a little pissed...

Can someone tell me why the LGBT community in Indiana would want to celebrate anything in the Governor's Residence? This Governor has repeatedly danced with our community to pretend he's a friend while publicly speaking out in support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Mitch Daniels is no friend to LGBT Hoosiers. He wants our votes and our money, but he doesn't want to stand up when it really counts. Indiana Equality is sending the wrong message to the members of our community. NotMyManMitch.jpgBy having this event at the Governor's residence, IE is tacitly giving a wink and a nod to Daniels' screwing of our community. This is especially true when the only name attached to the event is former Daniels campaign manager Bill Oesterle.

Oesterle is the only reason Mitch Daniels can claim a modicum of LGBT friendliness. Oesterle has been an open and outspoken advocate of LGBT equality and has donated to our causes in the past. He is very close with Mitch Daniels, but with no official position in the administration, the relationship is personal and doesn't reflect (obviously!) on Daniels' policies.

So as Indiana Equality continues to trade on its "loves-me-loves-me-not" relationship with Mitch Daniels and his pals, lets hope they can finally convince the governor to speak more openly of his much-touted-but-rarely-seen gay friendliness. It would be nice to see an LGBT-friendly agenda get moved forward in the Indiana Legislature this coming year.

We need a hate-crimes law in Indiana. We need statewide non-discrimination laws that include gender identity and sexual orientation. And we need not ever hear talk of a marriage amendment again. Will the governor speak in our favor on any of these? Will he use any of his political mojo to advance a single LGBT concern?

I know this much - IE is due a bone for its loyalty and devotion to Mitch Daniels. They have been steadfast in defending him and proclaiming his support of our community.

It's time to shit or get off the pot. It's time for Indiana Equality to deliver on the continued assurances that the route to LGBT equality in Indiana is through Mitch Daniels and Republicans. I've heard it for years, but I've only been disappointed.

Will this next session of the General Assembly be more of the same?

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Considering I read a post somewhere yesterday floating Daniels as a Presidential candidate, I'm guessing we won't be seeing any help from him anytime soon.

Can someone tell me why the LGBT community in Indiana would want to celebrate anything in the Governor's Residence?

Because it is fun to get all dressed up and go visit someone who lives in a house that everyone envies, and sip on champagne and schmooze with other like-minded upwardly mobile guests who like to feel euphoric about the access they have to the lofty Halls of Power.

And besides ... I hear that some guys even enjoy getting pissed on.

Those folks forget that Daniels promised that Governor is the only office he will ever run for. If he were to run for president, I could create ads that would sink him, let alone real politicos who make those kinds of ads.

Mitch got lucky. He had a lackluster opponent who had pissed off her own base. If the Dem gubernatorial primary hadn't been so ugly, we'd be seeing a lot more blue in Indiana this year.

Well, you can easily see their priorities:

Indiana Equality and other LGBT leaders have continual and regular communications and discussions with Governor Mitch Daniels, Speaker of the House B. Patrick Bauer, other key elected officials, and state political parties.

Kathy Sarris has shilled for the Republican Party for years and has deliberately given the Party information on the LGBT community's plans. She assumes it will be helpful. It hasn't been so far.

I felt the same way when I got invitations from Indiana Equality to fundraisers for Elrod. He may have given support to the LGBT community, but the extreme anti-choice fliers Elrod sent out were a vicious slap in the face to women and Indiana Equality should (theoretically) have had nothing to do with him.

I'm pretty sick of the Indianapolis LGBT community being so dominated by people with a conservative Republican agenda. It's ridiculous.