Standing up for equality

Indiana State Senate set to debate HJR-3

Standing up for equality

No credible politician would ever promote bullying in the school yard. They would not applaud the aggressive adolescent for staying true to his beliefs, or for picking on a person who was not as strong as they are. They would denounce the act of bullying for everything that it is — cruel and unjust.

HJR-3, an amendment that, if passed, would create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Indiana, passed in the House of Representatives and now moves on to the Senate. The bill is supported by Governor Mike Pence, who has often defended his belief that a marriage ought to be between “one man and one woman.”

This bill is the closest thing I have seen to political bullying in my lifetime.

When we have politicians standing behind a podium preaching inequality based on sexual orientation, it is telling American children that it is okay to pick on a classmate or a community member.

If it was such a bad thing to do, why would our leaders do it? It validates the pre-conceived notion that our differences are something to be scrutinized and not celebrated. It sends a message that those who are different, in this sense, that those who are homosexual are unequal to heterosexuals.

It sends the message that they are unable to feel the same emotions, experience the same experiences and fall in love, just like their straight counter-parts because they are gay.

I am urging the Indiana state Senate to strike down HJR3. This is the opportunity for all of you to be on the right side of history. Not only will you be promoting peace and equality, you will be sending a message to every gay, bisexual, transsexual or questioning teenager or adult that they should not and will not be treated differently than their straight classmates or co-workers.

I’m not going to go as far as saying that Indiana will have marriage equality in the next year. I understand that we have a long way to go in terms of social progress in this great state of ours.

However, a vote in negation on HJR-3 would be a great starting point. As Grammy award winning rapper Macklemore said, “A law won’t change us, we have to change us.”

A “nay” vote on HJR-3 won’t automatically make the bigot have a change of heart. It won’t stop the bullies in the school yard from inflicting their cruel words on their classmate who happens to be gay, but it will send a strong message that their ignorance, their bigotry and their prejudice will not be protected by our state government. It will send a message that we respect peace and equality.

In conclusion, I urge the Senate, all 50 of you, to stand up in defense of love for all Hoosiers, gay and straight.