MAURER: Hoosier bigotry has real-life consequences

Mickey Maurer
February 15, 2014
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Mickey Maurer CommentaryDid you hear what happened in Massachusetts when they voted to allow same-sex marriage?


God did not wreak his vengeance upon this abomination. Nobody turned to salt.


Nothing happened except James Giessler left Indianapolis and moved to Boston. He is living happily ever after with Tim McGinley, whom he married in 2010 on the Fourth of July. It was their 20th anniversary.

Giessler had resigned his position as executive director of The Wellness Community of Central Indiana because of the general political climate here, which he described as “toxic.”

His partner had some health issues, and Giessler was concerned. Because Indiana does not recognize the union of same-sex partners, he was justifiably afraid that the Giessler-McGinley relationship would not be recognized if contested by a biological family member. In that event, hospitals could have legally denied visitation and even worse, could have denied Giessler control over health decisions for McGinley if he were ever incapacitated. Can you imagine being denied the right to have a say in care for your loved ones or even to visit them in the hospital?

Giessler is employed as executive director of the Harvard Glee Club, America’s oldest college chorus, a group that performs in concerts regularly throughout the world—in concert halls and schools and churches, live and on recordings. Giessler is an able executive. The Wellness Community misses him. Indiana misses him.

Corporate Indiana has testified to the adverse economic effect of restricting marriage rights of same-sex couples and the attempt to embody this hate law in the Indiana Constitution. These corporations recruit from a pool of young prospects, heterosexual or otherwise, a demographic that polls highly in favor of gay marriage.

The youth of our nation sees no issue here and would probably not favor a move to a state intent upon yanking the welcome mat out from under a potential employee because of his or her sexual orientation. That’s not cool.

Now there is evidence. In a recent article in Nuvo, Rebecca Townsend cited the work of Jeramy Townsley, an adjunct professor with IUPUI’s Department of Sociology, who discovered actual data supporting the proposition that an anti-gay atmosphere results in real job loss. Townsley also teaches at Butler and has taught statistics at IUPUI.

Townsley said that after he ran the analysis through his software, what he found personally shocking: an insanely high number of firms and jobs lost after passage of a major anti-gay law or high court ruling.

Faced with hard evidence, you would think our politicians—who have stated many times that their primary interest was jobs—would abandon this cruel crusade. Don’t count on it from the Republican tea party contingent, a narrow-minded homophobic cabal.

Sometimes it takes people like Jim Giessler to personalize an issue.

Speaking of people, who is your state senator? Mine is Mike Delph, a man who Victor Hugo might have described as “ … doubtless a good father, a good husband, really not ambitious, but, bad,” Claude Gueux (pub. 1834).

Delph has consistently supported a ban on same-sex marriage. His stale refrain is, “Let’s put it to a referendum and let the people decide.” Although Delph has a law degree, he fails to understand the raison d’être of the Bill of Rights—protection of human rights from oppression of the majority.

We are not debating raising taxes on tomatoes. This issue is worth shouting about. It is worth getting personal. Let’s root out Delph and find a candidate who believes in America’s core values but advocates fair treatment for all.

There should be no room for class hatred in the Indiana Republican Party.

In Nigeria, homosexuals are punished with 20 lashes from a leather whip. In Indiana we lash the gay community with intolerance and bigotry. Good people of my district, let’s take the whip out of Mike Delph’s hands.•


Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.


  • When will they ever learn
    I was born and raised in Catholic family in Indiana. After high school, I could not wait to get out and I eventually moved to California. Now unfortunately, I live in another state run by religious bigots, North Carolina. We worked so hard to defeat Amendment. Love is beautiful in all it various forms. One is not better than the other.
  • Shame on you Mr. Malone
    Mr. Malone, I find it humorous that you titled your comment as "can we avoid labels". You did exactly that by thinking that someone who is LGBT made a decision to be the way they are. Do you think that anyone would choose that? Would choose to deal with narrow minded people like yourself? Would choose to fall in love with someone and not be allowed the same basic rights as you and I? We, as heterosexuals, have no right to tell anyone who they can or can't love. Just as they don't try to force their lifestyle you...you shouldn't force your lifestyle on them. I'm sure you are still of the opinion that women should be barefoot and in the kitchen. Times they are a changin' Mr. Malone. Why don't we stop worring about a persons sexual preferences and worry about something more important...like gun violence or the fact that American children underperform compared to children in other countries? I'm not concerned that my gay friends are going to turn me gay, I'm more concerned that you're trying to force your narrowmindedness on society.
  • timing
    It appears by looking at the dates that the 2 chose to move from Indiana prior to HJR 3.
  • can we avoid labels
    Mr. Maurer's comments seem to me to be designed to inflame the argument. A person can support laws that limit the use of tobacco and not be consider tobaccophobic or to hate those who choose to use tobacco. But whenever there is an attempt to pass a law that is viewed as negative by or toward those who define themselves as GLBT the proponent of that law is homophobic or filled with hate. Marriage has a worldwide understanding of being a union between a male and a female. I know that some of you reading this post would not accept the Bible but marriage is established in the book of Genesis as the bonding of a man and a woman together. And this definition is understood around the world even in cultures that do not accept the Bible as a standard of moral teaching. Having to protect the meaning of words should not be the responsibility of legislators and changing the meanings should not be domain of judges and lawyers. The concept that marriage must be available to any combination of people who want to participate in it is not a civil right. If the definition is bent now to allow 2 same sex individuals to be married, it will be less than a decade before we see the definition expand to include groups of 3 or more and those crying out for it to be available without parental permission for those who are younger than 16, possibly even preteens. The definition of marriage as the union of 1 man and 1 woman needs to be protected by law because judges and lawyers will continue to change the definition. Some questions for those of you who consider this to be a civil rights issue. Is there biological evidence to show that GBLT is not personal choice? If it is personal choice, why should it get legal status? If your world view is evolutionary, why would you want to legally protect a status/change that would lead to extinction if it spread to the whole population?
    • Mistake
      the definitive article...not difinitive...sorry, typing too fast makes Jim a poor speller and bad grammarian...and poor punctuator...etc...
    • Thank you sir!
      I have written you a couple of times to let you know how much I appreciated pieces you have written before, but I must say this is my favorite...I have engaged in the bickering/rhetoric online here several times over this proposed amendment to our state contitution (actually there isn't much bickering, it is mostly a guy named Rick who is the non legislative version of Sen. Delph vs. most everyone else...he calls the rest of us libs, atheists, etc. but I would guess that most of the people here are actually pretty conservative and go to church, it is a business journal after all...we just understand that the founder's wanted government to stay our of their and our lives, and how important that fact is to our personal and religious liberty, ironic that they would seek to erode that freedom which allows them to assume their bigoted position without consequence...thanks for pointing out again, as I have many times here what the Bill of Rights is about, and also that young people don't want this, and stating that they are right about it...you and they are right, it isn't cool)...you said this is an issue worth shouting about...frankly, I was getting tired of shouting, because the louder you shout the more people like Sen. Delph and Rick dig in, the more convinced they become that they are the only sane people in a world they think is going to Hades in a hand basket...as if enshrining it in the State Constitution would stop the behavior...before Roe Vs. Wade, people got abortions...I graduated from high school in 1972, one year prior...2 girls in my graduating class with well to do parents were shipped off to New York to get things "taken care of", there is always a way as long as there is a market or a will to obtain, no amendment nor law will stop it, see Temperance movement, you would think we would learn...homosexual behavior has gone on pretty much as long as people have existed...making a law or an amendment won't stop it...giving 20 lashes doesn't stop it in Nigeria. It is time to put this issue to bed (whoever you may be sleeping with), and retire Senator Delph, whose raison d'etre is this amendment and Single Class Basketball, and he has shown a remakeable single mindedness in devoting efforts and resources to these two pursuits in absence of any real substantive ideas that would make Indiana a better and more welcoming place to live, work and prosper ...perhaps he can go Clerk for Jim Bopp when he returns to private practice...thanks again for your perspective, and writing the difinitive article on the subject, and reminding people that the Republican Party used to be the party of emancipation, freedom, defender of the liberty, this is a Republic aafter all...neither the Founders, nor Lincoln, would be proud to see it become the party of "class hatred" and harboring a "narrow-minded homophobic cabal" (man, I wish I had come up with that last one, that is good). Great article Mr. Maurer...I often find myself asking you to write more, but perhaps you should just pick your spots, like this one...
    • Bravo! Mr. Maurer
      Bravo! Mr. Maurer. I am neither gay, lesbian nor transgender. I am however for equal rights under the law. I never understand that the party that encourages government to "stay out of our lives" conveniently gets the government involved when they don't like what others are doing.All citizens in this country should be able to visit their loved one in the hospital, share in their well earned benefits just as they should pay taxes as married couples. Mr. Delph furthered his ridiculous cause this morning as he continue to push for inclusion of unnecessary language. It is time for hoosiers to speak at the ballot box. Let's start voting with our hearts And brains instead of simply voting along party lines. Bravo! Mr. Maurer. Thanks for explaining what is right and what is simply intolerance.
    • Re: Stye
      Your offensive comments only reveal your ignorance, sir (or madam). Blaming the AIDS crisis on the LGBT community is just ridiculous in this day and age. Mike Delph's comments are irrational and make it seem like maybe he's losing a grip on reality. I fail to find anything redeeming in them and I am ashamed that he represents the district in which I reside and work. Mr. Maurer has stated what many of us already know and keeps the conversation on a rational level. Let's strive to do the same. Regarding your comments about hospitals, I would hate to be in your shoes if you were not allowed to visit or have say in the healthcare decisions of someone you loved. Eliminating phrases like "most of the time" is exactly what this fight is all about.
    • Love and Fear
      The opposite of love is not hate, but fear. This same fear runs through all of our current social debates such as immigration, a women's right to choose, universal healthcare and gays right to marriage and equal rights under the law. Those in fear start with the premise that there is not enough for everyone, that those who think differently have to be wrong. Even in the face of overwhelming logical evidence that banning gay marriage hurts our economic climate, there are those who still cling to their fear-based opinions. Thank you, Mr. Maurer for putting a bright light on this issue.
    • definition
      When did the definition of marriage come up for redefinition? As long as we all agree that marriage can be redefined ... I suggest that 3 consenting gays / lesbians be permitted to marry as well ... after all ... it's what they want to be ...
    • Tweets - What a Wast of Time
      I read through the tweets out of curiosity. Now I know for sure that tweeting is for twits. What a waste of time other than to enlarge some egos. I learned nothing of value.
    • Happily married after 30 years!
      What a great article Mr. Maurer! We are a gay couple born and raised in Indiana. We've been together for 30 years. It's too bad on our 30th anniversary we had to go to Iowa to be married. Where I might add we were welcomed, loved and thanked for choosing the great state of Iowa to be married. We couldn't have been so welcomed from the court house to the magistrates office and staff. Thanks for a great article and so long Mr. Delphi!
    • re: Stye
      I'm curious to know how you know so much about what goes on in the LGBT community. Please enlighten us.
    • What do you expect from a guy who failed the bar
      While Mike Delph's comments, rationale, logic and historical understanding are all severely lacking on a variety of topics, it's largely what you suspect from a supposed "best and the brightest" of the Repulican Party who lacked the intellect and drive to pass the Indiana Bar Exam. He's par for the course as far as run of the mill GOP state legislators in Indiana. More ambition than intellect and understanding.
    • Well Said
      Your column is right on track - Indiana's anti-gay agenda is just another example of partisan political agendas based on self interest rather than good governance. Brain drain has been a problem in Indiana for many years and is only going to get worse with this type of bigotry clothed as righteousness.
    • Thank You Mr. Maurer
      Perhaps you could run a Mickey's Camp for legislators on the subject of constitutional law and EQUAL rights of individuals. Thanks you for your brave statements.
    • Thank You
      Hello, My name is Adam. I'm a life-long Hoosier, and I'm currently attending Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. I just wanted to write to say that reading this article makes me very proud to be attending the Maurer School. It is sometimes easy to get lost in the abstraction or minutia of careful moves and deliberate construction; it gets easy to lose sight of principle. But principle is something you articulated very well here, and in Tim Giessler you gave principle a human face. I have lived in Indiana for 29 years, but I am not certain I will stay after graduating from law school. This is exactly for the reasons you identified. I am tired of my state moving against the current of history, in the opposite direction of personal liberty. In my view, there is inherent goodness in the American way of life. To that end, our chief concern should be including as many people in that good life as we can. The idea that we protect our way of life by excluding outside groups from joining in is ludicrous on its face, and anti-market in the extreme. You don't grow a market by shutting out participants. You don't create liberty for some by denying it to others. Hoosiers are perhaps the most welcoming, gracious, humble folks I've met in my life. They're the sort of folks who invite you over for a beer on the porch in the autumn time, or some coffee late at night around a timeworn kitchen table. Their approach to life is simple but not simplistic, informed by hard work and common sense. It's hard for me to believe that, with all the decent people I've met, there isn't a place in that life for everybody. I just think it requires good people standing up and not allowing old prejudice to fester. And I hope your timely article encourages just that. Thank you again for giving me more to be proud of in attending the school that bears your name. Regards, Adam Kornya
    • PS
      Very well-written and thoughtful piece. Thank you.
    • Um Stye
      "I don't like dogs" is a different view. "I don't like a certain group of people because they possess a certain trait and I'm going to support laws that discriminate against those" is a textbook bigot. Mike Delph is on Twitter wondering "where Torquemada is now that we need him," for heaven's sake. And here you are defending him and those who support him as if longing for a return to the days of the Inquisition is no more consequential than preferring Coke over Pepsi.
    • Umm
      You do realize he has a gay brother and is not a bigot but conservative. He is allowed to have his views. You act like there is no consequence, no AIDS, no idea how gay people suffer from their own. No idea on rapes or drug use or how the LGBT community is such a lie if it's all friendly and buddy buddy. Lotta gay people just want sex and not even know the name of the person lotta straight people do too. Sick of bigot being used for anyone with a different worldview. There's more hate that spawns from that and judgment than twitter conservatives. I do agree with you that hospitals should allow others to be there they want there but most of the time guess what, they do.
      • Carmel
        It shocked me when I found out Mike Delph represents Carmel. I assumed he was from a rural district. I hope national publications are aware of this when they are compiling their best places to live lists.
      • Thanks!
        I couldn't agree more with your comments. It seems counterproductive to try to attract business to Indiana when there is such a provential attitude here. I'm ashamed of the intolerance that exists in Indiana and hope that things change or my family is out of here in the not-to-distant future.
      • Absolutely right
        This article is spot on. My wife and I are both mid-30s, high-income professionals. We are actively seeking to leave the state.
      • Hoosier bigotry has real-life consequences
        I commend Mickey Maurer for his presentation of facts and a human life story about gays who contributed to Indianapolis, but because of the bigotry of HJR-3 decided to move. Senator Delph and the supports of HJR-3 support an agenda that has and if fully enacted will continue to damage Indiana. It is apparent the Democrats solidly oppose enactment. To defeat the legislation we need some GOP Senators or GOP voters to realize the error of their representative in the Indiana Legislature to vote against HJR-3.
        • Sound Journalism
          Thank you for taking a toxic subject and reporting facts, without sensationalizing . There are many more statistics and examples of how this bill has already damaged Indiana's citizens.. It is time we vote into office those who can see, let alone understand truth
        • interesting thought
          I had some e-mail interaction with Mr. Delph a few years back when he was attempting to use the Legislature to force a return to single-class high school basketball. I felt that to be a ridiculous waste of time and resources for something that would neither advance the State nor the people who live here, just like HJR6. It occurs to me, though, that a constitutional amendment for single-class basketball may have a better chance than same sex marriage. (I hope Delph doesn't read this.)
        • Thank You!
          Once again, Mr. Maurer is a voice of reason in this debate that shouldn't even be a debate. I was at the Senate hearing on Thursday - I, along with two other PFLAG members, shared our concerns with Sen. Delph. However, he refused to budge. He insisted that the only way to be done with this issue would be to allow Hoosiers to vote. He also said he was going to introduce an amendment to reinsert the second sentence. What happened a bit later I was not prepared for. I was standing in the crowd outside the Senate chamber waiting for HJR-3 to be brought up. All of a sudden Sen. Delph came out of the chamber, walked up to me and handed me a few sheets of paper, saying, "We don't have enough votes, you win, Here." As he walked away I saw that he had handed me the motion. I also didn't know that he had tweeted this info before it was publicly known. Interestingly, before e left his office he told me to come see him on Monday. I saw the interview with his brother. As the mother of a gay son, I'm glad he loves his brother. But that love still does not justify his decision to throw the rest of Indiana's LGBT community under the bus.
        • thank you
          Mr. Maurer, I thank you for detailing out the facts and the consequences of this bill. I too am a moderate Republican and regrettably my state senator since I moved to Carmel 6 months ago is Sen. Mike Delph. Our children pledge allegiance every day and finish it with "liberty and justice for all." Not just for "Judeo-Christians" not just for "heterosexual nuclear families," but for "all." Thanks again.
        • My feelings about the ban
          If gay marriage were allowed in Indiana, there would be no increase in gay porn at AMC Theaters, no mandatory attendance at gay weddings, no straight people suddenly turning gay, no visible signs anywhere of any change—because THERE ALREADY ARE GAY COUPLES. Gays have been partnered like straight couples for eons, living together, raising children, committed to loving lifetime relationships. Allowing them legal protections that straight people enjoy does not change a single thing for anyone outside of their marriage. It only means that all adults are treated fairly and equally under the law. That 'separation of church and state' thingy has never been more profoundly abused than in arguments against gay marriage. Yay for the IN Senate's pragmatism!
        • Delph alternative
          Great article, thanks for adding some facts and reason to the dialogue. An easy way to be rid of Mike Delph is to vote for J.D. Ford. You can find him at @JD4IN29 and www.jdforindiana.com.

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