HENDERSON: Love can trump constitutional missteps

December 14, 2013

HendersonThe fatwa on gay marriage must end. The state Constitution is no toy for the disengaged to manipulate real love. I’m hoping the Legislature does the right thing: reverse the hatred and disinformation that makes us appear like Iran on an evil day.

It seems that every Hoosier has a birthright to happiness, along with obligations of civility and responsibility toward the common good. These rights and obligations are what make citizenship so successful in a democracy. We’re not told who to love, because such directives would be insane, just as we’re not told where to work or whom to work for.

Instead, we hopefully are subject to unconditional love, and provide that ourselves. Without that unconditional love, dysfunction inevitably ensues.

Who to love? The answer is in the eye and heart of the beholder. With luck, we allow them to pursue their love and give them benefits of those that want to make that commitment.

Barring that, we endow second-class citizenship, and cast good and honest Hoosiers into denigration. They are robbed of their dignity and birthright.

I’ve heard arguments that gay people are good for the economy. This shouldn’t really matter, although the economy is certainly important. A more fundamental confirmation of citizenship is the right to pledge marriage to the partner we want.

Cries from the pulpits that denigrate gay marriage harken to the days when mixing the races was the sure path to hell. The ayatollahs conjure many objections, inspire strong emotions and remind me once again of the malaise of fearful haters believing they can cite that God is somehow on their side of righteousness.

The disinformation and false meme propagation has become plainly silly. No one is asking heterosexuals to marry their sex. Like all pledges of love, it’ll be marriage with a consenting partner. We don’t pre-arrange and enslave partner’s destinies in this country with parentally-mandated betrothal; it is contrary to who we are.

In the same way, a ban on gay marriage enslaves non-heterosexuals to not be able to pursue their love, their passion, their dignity, their majesty as Hoosiers. They cannot achieve the partnership so many couples crave and enjoy as their birthright. Whether a non-heterosexual was born that way or became that way makes no difference.

The modern media era now exposes that a significant fraction of us, Hoosiers included, are members of the set of non-heterosexuals. Kinsey sought the data in the last century: Who are we, sexually? The answer was shocking because the meme wanted to believe that non-heterosexual relationships were dysfunctional, abnormal, and to be castigated if made criminal.

Media documents the reality of people who’ve contributed in small and large ways to civics, government, community, business, philanthropy and education—they aren’t necessarily heterosexual. They can be not-for-profit board members, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists, judges, doctors—right down to baristas and Walmart greeters, as sexuality has no real boundaries. They can be me.

In Jasper, the Sisters of Providence taught me many ideals. They didn’t really understand the messiness of politics but warned that only fanatics fought moral issues in a constitution. In the 1950s and ’60s, Jasper didn’t even have black people; they were almost theoretical. I didn’t know my ancestors were members of the KKK, as many Caucasians were in the early part of the last century. Imagine my shock.

Now I find that loving people are trying to prevent loving commitment, constitutionally. I’m shocked.•

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Henderson is principal researcher of ExtremeLabs Inc., a Bloomington computer analysis firm. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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