I'm from Indianapolis. I was born at Methodist Hospital while a spring snowstorm all but shut down the city, and I was raised less than a mile from the Motor Speedway. I've never actually been to the 500 because I could sit in my grandparent's backyard and hear everything clear as a bell. Start to finish, I could hear the Star Spangled Banner, Jim Nabors singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" and the inevitable, "Gentlemen, start your engines". The roar of the cars careening around the track could only have been louder if I was sitting in the front row of the grandstand.
My point? I'm familiar with Indiana. I know that my attempts at making lemon shake-ups won't be nearly as good as the ones I can get in August at the State Fair, and that – come October – I could spit in any direction and hit a haunted corn maze.
But my comfort and familiarity should not imply abject affection. Mine has always been a mostly hate relationship with the state of my birth. Why? Because we're so intentionally fucking backward.
On Thursday, the Legislative Council – a group of "top" Indiana lawmakers – gathered to choose 40 issues to discuss over the summer in preparation for the 2016 legislative session. They voted to study problems with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and whether or not to add bars to the state smoking ban. So while this crackerjack committee is going to be hard at it, buckling down on hot-button issues like the ISTEP's effectiveness as a grading tool, they've decided to go ahead and table the pesky civil rights issue of sexual orientation.
Democrats fought hard to have gay rights included in the summer's "top 40", but Pence has made it clear time and again that this is not a problem he wishes to address. Gay rights, gay issues and gay people sadly don't fall into the category of "things about which Pence cares". His only concern is that his constituents are free to fully exercise their religious beliefs – as if THOSE rights were ever in question! We are a red state run by ultra-conservative bullies who have no compunction about openly persecuting and discriminating against anyone who doesn't CHOOSE to be a Christian heterosexual. ('Cause we're all born that way.) There's simply no getting around his clear choice to turn his back on the gay citizens of Indiana when he signed that loathsome RFRA bill.
Keith Kassan, of TheStateHouseFile.com, quoted Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane of Anderson in his article on the same subject.
"This isn't about politics," said Lanane. "This is about what we are going to do public policy wise to show that Indiana is a truly welcoming state. Waiting another year is out of the question. No matter how hard they try to obstruct it, our governor and his allies in the legislature cannot hold back progress any longer. We know what everyday Hoosiers know, that there's no place for discrimination in the Hoosier state. We'll continue to fight to make that a reality."
Unfortunately, it isn't "everyday Hoosiers" who are running state government. I bet we could find someone more qualified in one of those corn mazes.