[Editor's Note: The following is an open letter submitted to NUVO by Dana Black, candidate for the Indiana House in the 88th District. She faces incumbent Brian Bosma, Speaker of the Indiana House, in the General election in November.]
By Dana Black
Your hate for who I am led you to believe you had the right to deny me life. This is not an uncommon theme in America; in fact it is as American as apple pie. The events of Orlando's Pulse club, although the extreme, is being echoed in may state houses around the country. Other than the massacre at Wounded Knee, this is the greatest mass shooting in the history of our country.
Your disapproval of my existence makes you believe you can deny me my civil rights, deny me life. Just recently, State Rep. Brian Bosma released a statement suggesting they will study adding the LGBT community to protected class status in our civil rights statutes. And this weekend, Indy Pride Weekend, the Indiana Republicans at their convention and are discussing whether they should change their marriage language from only one man and one woman. The idea alone suggests their idea of a family is the only type of family, and all other demographic configurations are not worthy of their support or protection.
See, here is the thing, you don't have to like me or what I stand for or how I live my life, but you don't have the right to deny me life. You don't have the right to suggest that I am somehow less than you because I don't believe the way you do. Please understand when you make these assertions; you can't control how they are received. Omar Mateen thought as you do, and there are many others who think the exact same thing and will use your words to justify their actions against the LGBT community.
I went to bed Saturday night elated that I spent the day celebrating openness and moving forward with my wife, my granddaughter and closest of friends I call family. I woke up this morning to read and see a tragedy that stopped my heart. Republican leaders in Indiana, you have the opportunity to do what is right and protect the citizens of our great state. You have the opportunity to stop any potential violence against my community by proclaiming that all Hoosiers have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness regardless of whom they love. Will you take the necessary steps or will you continue to be a huge part of the problem? It really is up to you.
Indiana voters, you have a choice in 2016 to elect an individual who believes every citizen of this state has a right to his or her life.