HETRICK: Will Hoosier honchos buy Chicken Little’s hokum?

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A note to Gov. Mike Pence, Speaker Brian Bosma and Sen. David Long.

Dear Mike, Brian and David:

Sorry for the impersonal salutation, but I’m writing on a personal matter. I want to ask how your marriages are faring. Mine is quite joyous, thank you. I sincerely hope you can say the same.

I ask because Chicken Little stopped by the farm here in Pendleton on Oct. 28, with Henny Penny and Ducky Lucky following close behind.

“The sky is falling,” said Chicken Little.

“How do you know?” I said.

“Saw it on Facebook,” said Chicken Little.

“Facebook?” I said.

“I hacked into your account,” said Chicken Little.

“You what?” I said.

“Don’t worry. There’s nothing there but chicken feed,” said Chicken Little. “But while I was logged in, I saw that picture of your friends Deb and Beth in Central Park. The post said, ‘No words can describe the joy of LEGAL after 17 years of raising children and caring for aging parents—together!’

“I’m betting they got hitched,” said Chicken Little.

“Married,” said Henny Penny.

“The big commitment,” said Ducky Lucky.

“We’ll deal with the hacking later,” I said. “But what does Deb’s and Beth’s marriage have to do with the sky falling?”

“They’re lesbians,” said Chicken Little.

“Ick,” said Henny Penny.

“Can’t fertilize eggs that way,” said Ducky Lucky.

“Wait, wait, wait,” I said. “Again, what does this have to do with the sky falling?”

“Well,” said Chicken Little. “If ‘those people’ can get married, it will clip us normal birds’ wings. The sky will fall on traditional chicken-coop values.”

“Yeah,” said Ducky Lucky. “If birds of a feather can flock together, normal marriage won’t be all it’s quacked up to be.”

“Rim shot,” said Henny Penny.

“Listen, my fine-feathered friends,” I said, “I don’t know where you got these harebrained notions, but how does a marriage between any two loving people affect other people’s marriages?

“Deb and Beth are successful businesswomen. They’re women of strong faith. They helped raise a remarkable daughter. They’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity. They’ve created jobs. They’ve traveled the world. And they’ve been together for almost two decades. What’s wrong with that picture?”

“The sky is falling,” said Chicken Little. “Heard it on Fox TV.”

“The sky is falling,” said Henny Penny. “Heard it from Chicken Little.”

“The sky is falling,” said Ducky Lucky. “Heard it from Henny Penny.”

Thus, gentlemen, I return to my question. The Indiana Family Institute and its ilk would have us believe that marriages such as Deb’s and Beth’s will send the sky falling on marriages such as yours and mine.

But go figure: It’s been two weeks since Deb and Beth got married, and I’ve yet to see the heterosexual masses rushing to divorce court or family counselors.

Meanwhile, the Chicken Littles, Henny Pennys and Ducky Luckys of our state still want a gay marriage ban in our state Constitution.

Last week in this publication, I read column after column on this topic. One cited opinion polls. Another talked history. Still others discussed faith, economic development and Hoosier hospitality.

I read them. Then I read the Constitution. It notes the rights Indiana will protect for all the people, not the rights it will deny a few.

The only denial I find: one “convicted of an infamous crime” may not vote.

Surely, two loving persons getting married is not on par with that.

In addition to saying that “all people”—including, presumably, Deb and Beth—are “created equal” and that “they are endowed by their CREATOR” with “inalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the Indiana Constitution says: “The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.”

Except, of course, the privilege to marry the person one loves if that person happens to be of the same sex.

Gentlemen, the gay marriage amendment is not a matter for opinion polls or a referendum. It’s a matter of law and individual civil liberties. Our Constitution does not allow the imposition of anyone’s religious views—even if they’re espoused by the majority of the people—upon others. It does provide for equal protection under the law, for Deb, Beth, and all the rest of our state’s citizens.

But mostly, Chicken Little is wrong. The sky is not falling. This amendment is a distraction. You and we have bigger concerns at hand: jobs, education, health and caring for the least among us.

Please, shoot this legislation down before we waste millions of dollars embarrassing ourselves and our state. Your marriages and mine, your families and mine—and Deb’s and Beth’s marriage and family, too—will all be just fine if we send Chicken Little back to the coop.•


Hetrick is an Indianapolis-based writer, speaker and public relations consultant. His column appears twice a month. He can be reached at bhetrick@ibj.com.

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