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Culture War of Nerves!

A battle is getting ready to brew in the Indiana General Assembly, but it’s not one that you will see on the floor. It is one that if fought as intense as I think it will be, there will be a lot of personal, private and potentially embarrassing information “coming out” about some Indiana lawmakers.

The fight concerns SJR-7, an amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would limit marriages to one man and one woman and prohibit the state from concerning the rights of married couples to same sex couples and other unmarried couples. I personally don’t see the need for this and in fact have never had a problem with gay marriage. However, individuals who are more culturally conservative than I am do. I respectfully disagree.

But what will be interesting to watch is if the forces of the far right go forward, they may see their personal lives put on display. Already at Advance Indiana, operated by Gary Welsh, there is a repeat of a story regarding pro-life Sen. Brandt Hershman featuring allegations by his ex-wife that he forced her to have an abortion in 1997. Hershman called the allegations “dirty politics.”

Hershman’s story is but one of a potential many. At Bilerico, a blog run by Bil Browning names, without naming, quite a bit or dirty laundry. And it is calling on readers to offer up anything else. It will be interesting to see who gets named.

After more than two years in the Statehouse, I’ve heard quite a few stories about lawmakers whose personal lives would run contrary to public statements they’ve made about morality and values. Most the rumor I have kept at just that, rumor.

But now the situation is about to escalate. And it will not be just a Republican issue either. There are Democrats with potential skeletons as well. Regardless of the outcome, this is not going to pretty, but it will be something worth watching.

  • http://www.bilerico.com Bil Browning

    Thanks for the mention, Abdul! Everyone can send tips about these “moral values police” hypocrites to the tip e-mail address I’ve set up. I’m sick of these bigots saying I’m attacking their marriage when I’m not the one trying to discriminate against them. I want to know all the dirty laundry. If we’re going to talk about my sex life, then we’re going to talk about theirs too!

  • Anonymous


    I agree with your comments on hypocrisy. But aren’t people with good intentions also fallible? I don’t think human fallibility is what should be called into question.

    On the other hand, I do believe that individual integrities need to be called onto the carpet. These individuals who choose to lead a life in the public eye should expect to be scrutinized. If they plan to forward an agenda that they claim to believe in, then we expect them to be forthcoming and open about errors they may have committed in the past. If they are unwilling to do so, they leave themselves and potentially important issues open to attack and thus they are unable to represent their constituencies effectively.

    So, I agree with your agenda on the issue, but not the tactic. We’re all fallible and we’re all guilty of acting contrary to our core beliefs at one point or another. That shouldn’t be the issue. The issue should be that these people are trying to represent an issue without being honest enough to admit that they have contributed to the problem. Integrity is the issue, not fallibility.

  • Anonymous

    This smells more like blackmail.

  • Marla Randolph Stevens

    Don’t confuse privacy and secrecy. They are different things.

    Blackmail is when you promise to keep secrets if someone ponies up something you want from them. Nobody has promised that. I have always said that, if you want to keep something secret, make sure I don’t know it before you’ve gotten my promise not to reveal it because otherwise, once I know it, it isn’t a secret anymore.

    This isn’t blackmail. It’s just consequences.

    Government and secrecy is usually a bad mix, just as the relevant hypocrisy of public officials has always been fair game. The fight on gay issues in Indiana has long been a dirty one — a one-sided dirty one, replete with lies and character assassination being used against gay people to deny us equality under the law. All we’re proposing is to level the playing field a little by — oh the horror — telling the truth.

  • Anonymous

    So, you are equating homosexuality with improper conduct of some heterosexuals. So, maybe you are getting it; both are improper and thusly should not be sanctioned by law. Glad that you now realize that Bill. Yes, and people do make mistakes; the question is whether one realizes that an action is a mistake or whether one believes that it is just a lifestyle choice. So, acknowledge your mistake and renounce the gay lifestyle choice and you will live a happier life.

  • Marla Randolph Stevens

    No, we’re not condemning homosexuality or heterosexuality — just hypocrisy and being denied equality under the law (an equality that requires accommodation for similar situation.) Whether we choose being gay — which I would certainly do if the choice were mine to make — or choose to live as if we are not (a path to unhappiness if ever there was one) ought matter not where the law is concerned.

  • Marla Randolph Stevens

    Regarding the term “the gay lifestyle” — are you trying to imply that the many millions of gay people across the world all live alike? Lifestyle is a word that best describes the such fleeting things as whether one prefers backyard barbecues to elegant dinners in five-star restaurants, not the deeply rooted, complex thing that is human sexual orientation. Are you attempting to belittle us by your choice of terminology or are you just parroting someone else’s intentional manipulation of language in pursuit of trivializing something so fundamental and intrinsic?