About 500 people attended the Rally in the Indiana Statehouse, organized by Indiana Equality to address SJR-7, the amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and to support the hate crimes bill, which will include sexual orientation and gender identity. There were several speakers, including Candace Gingrich, lgbt civil rights activist and sister of Newt Gingrich.
See all 52 of my photos of the Rally on Flickr…
Unfortunately, House Democrats were "in caucus" today, and were "unable" to meet with their constituents to talk about SJR-7, so a group of people, including Indiana Action Network members, IYG Youth and IU Students went to protest outside House Speaker Bauer’s office — chanting "Pat, Pat, come out and talk."
What happened next? Indiana Equality Lobbyist Mark St. John got angry at the attention being paid to House Speaker Bauer – gee, I wonder why? Maybe you can find the answer in this post on Advance Indiana – and forcefully grabbed Bil Browning of Indiana Action Network – with the cameras rolling.
I’m processing the video of WRTV’s coverage and uploading it to YouTube…
I happened to be standing right there (you can see me in the video), so I heard what St. John said — he fired Bil from his job at Lambda Consulting because Bil “betrayed his trust” in not getting permission for the impromptu protest at Bauer’s office. A while later, after he calmed down, he said that wasn’t going to happen, but I’m not sure what the repercussions will be in the future.
Incidentally, I also saw St. John grab and physically drag by the arm another protester – one of the IYG youth, I believe – away from the protest to have a heated debated about why the Democrats were in caucus – St. John was claiming that it had nothing to do with the Rally or SJR-7. I’m not sure I believe St. John’s claims about why the “caucus” happened. I do know that Representative Orentlicher, who was at the rally and at the impromptu protest after, was actively trying to get Bauer to come out and speak to the protesters.
In all, I hope the day was an effective event, but the fact that people were unable to lobby their Representatives was a pretty striking blow to the cause. The likelihood that all of the people signed up will be able to have face-to-face meetings with elected officials at other times in the future is pretty slim – many people were from out of town, or happened to have this day off work due to the President’s Day holiday. Face-to-face meetings are far more effective than phone calls and emails.
A while back, I wrote about SJR-7, the bill to amend the Indiana constitution to eliminate equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and I urged people to contact the legislators responsible for this atrocious piece of legislation.
Well, there’s more you can do.
Indiana Equality is organizing a rally at the State House to oppose this amendment, and to support two other pieces of legislation that help protect lgbt people – a hate crimes bill that covers sexual orientation and gender identity, and an anti-discrimination bill, both of which are being introduced this legislative session.
The rally — called the “Read the Fine Print” — will feature Candace Gingrich, sister of Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.
WHAT: “Read the Fine Print!” Rally at the Statehouse
WHEN: Monday, February 19, 2007 from 1:00 pm — 2:30 pm
WHERE: Indiana Statehouse, North Atrium, 200 W. Washington
(Enter off Ohio Street)
Enter the Statehouse using the Ohio Street entrance. Please allow extra time, as you may have to go through security. Also be aware that street parking may be hard to find. The Circle Center Mall garage is only a few blocks away and relatively inexpensive.
Note that this is on President’s Day – a day when many people already have off work — so you can attend this rally. I’ll be there. You will have the opportunity to meet with your legislators at some time during or after the rally to speak your mind if you like (see information on training below.)
You can RSVP that you will be attending at this Indiana Equality link.
You can get training to lobby your legislator prior to the rally, in the morning on the same day. Indiana Equality, Human Rights Campaign, and Stop The Amendment will be providing a two-hour crash course in techniques for constituents to successfully communicate with and educate their State legislators.
WHAT: Lobbying Your Legislator 101
WHEN: Monday, February 19th, 2007 from 9:30am – 11:30am
WHERE: Christ Church Cathedral, 125 Monument Circle
COST: $5 (includes training, materials, and continental
Reserve your spot in lobbying training.
Topics of this session will include:
Do’s and Don’ts when talking to legislators
The “Marriage” Amendment
- Process of amending Indiana?s Constitution
- Background on the Amendment
- Facts, talking points, and likely objections
Hate Crimes Legislation
- How a bill becomes law
- Background on Hate Crimes legislation
- Facts, talking points, and likely objections
Street parking may be hard to find. The Circle Center Mall garage is only a few blocks away and relatively inexpensive.
Marti has photos of yesterday’s Rally at the statehouse, [link deprecated: http://statehouse.transadvocate.com/] from beginning to end.
There’s apparently some question of the number of attendees.
Fortunately, I know how to count, so I think we can solve the mystery.
Bills that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered folks in Indiana:
Preference of Marriage Bills
House Bill 1335 (Preference for marriage over other relationships) and House Bill 1202 (Preference for marriage; instruction by schools) – Introduced by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) These two bills, would have Indiana law declare that marriage is preferred, encouraged, and supported over any other domestic relationship. Additionally, it would require that public schools not allow instruction that is contrary to policies established by law concerning marriage. HB 1335 has been assigned to the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee; HB 1202 has been sent to the House Education Committee. Neither bill is yet scheduled for committee consideration. This legislation appears to be in response to the idea among some social conservatives that schools are “promoting homosexuality.”
Patricia Miller’s Resurrection of “Unauthorized Reproduction” Bill
Senate Bill 0273 (Abandoned embryos and adoption matters) – Introduced by Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) Among other things this legislation calls for the Health Finance Commission to study assisted reproduction, infertility, gestational agreements, and surrogacy arrangements. SB 0273 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee; however, no hearing date has been set. The proposed study appears to be an attempt by Sen. Miller to resurrect her unsuccessful proposal to make assisted reproduction illegal for same-sex couples, unmarried couples, and single women.
What to do about it
WHAT: “Our Families Count!” rally
WHEN: Thursday, February 9, 2006 1-3pm
WHERE: Indiana Statehouse North Atrium (200 W Washington Street – Indianapolis)
WHO: Indiana Equality & Friends
WHY: Our families are not second-class! The state shouldn’t teach that they are!
Stand up and let your family be counted! Join Indiana Equality at the Statehouse for the “Our Families Count!” rally February 9.
Representatives from many area groups will be on hand. Guest speakers will start at 1:30! We have many great speakers lined up. You won’t want to miss this historic rally for equality!