Sunday, June 05, 2005

Governor Daniels Welcomes Indy Pride Celebration

Each June in cities throughout the world gays, lesbians and transgendered persons gather with their families at festivals known as Pride celebrations, which are public shows of unity to help everyone better understand and tolerate them as equal persons. Indiana's Pride Festival 2005, sponsored by Indy Pride, Inc., will be held in Indianapolis' University Park June 11-12. This year's guide for the celebration includes a welcome letter from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican. Governor Daniels notes that the "celebration seeks to foster understanding and acceptance of individuals without regard to gender, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any of the differences that divide us, in a state that urgently needs to confront its challenges with unity of purpose." Daniel's continues, "I hope the greatest strength of Hoosiers will always be found in the kindness and compassion that they show to others and in a commitment to community. May [the] event continue to build bridges among our people and a spirit of fellowship among all who attend."

As the state's top Republican, Daniels public statements of inclusion and non-discrimination for all Hoosiers, as well as his recently adopted EEO statement for state employees, are a major step forward for civil rights in Indiana. While most Indiana Republicans are performing cart-wheels to impress Eric Miller's Advance America and its agenda of promoting hate, fear and discrimination towards gays, lesbians and transgendered persons, Daniels is standing tall in opposing their bigoted agenda. He has been harshly criticized for adopting a discrimination-free EEO policy by these people, and this letter will no doubt further rile them. Other Indiana Republicans should take a few pointers from Daniels in following the true tradition of the Party of Lincoln and support civil rights for all citizens.

The 2005 Indy Pride guide also includes a strong letter of support from Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat. Mayor Peterson's welcome letter observes that [a]ll residents of Indianapolis are important to the advancement of our economy, our neighborhoods, the arts and government. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents of Indianapolis, like other minority groups, historically have faced significant challenges as they strive toward equality." Peterson concludes, "Indianapolis has in recent decades developed a culture of embracing diversity and of celebrating differences that might otherwise place barriers between us, and this weekend's festival is another indication of that culture." Like Daniels, Mayor Peterson has adopted an EEO policy statement for the City of Indianapolis' employees which prohibits discrimination of anyone on the basis of sexual identity or gender identity. He has also spoken out in favor of a proposed new civil rights ordinance for the City, which would incorporate similar protections for all Indianapolis residents. That measure was defeated by the city-county council in April, but its sponsors promise to resurrect it this fall.


Chris Douglas said...

Gary, please e-mail me directly: Thanks. Chris Douglas

paula said...

I thought this was a strange reply to my letter of encouragement to the Governor for his courage in signing the executive order for equal employment in state government :

Thank you for your recent e-mail communication to Governor Daniels.
The Governor read your message personally and asked that I respond.

I am afraid that you have been misinformed about the non-discrimination
policy in place for state employees. While Governor Daniels does not
believe in discrimination of any kind, the state employment policy he
continued does not extend special rights to people based on their sexual
orientation. It merely states that it "shall not be a consideration
in decisions concerning hiring, development, advancement and
termination of civilian employees."

The information you received regarding establishing "quotas" for

state employment practices is false. As you may know, "quotas" are

Additionally, please know there has been no direction to establish
state government agency hiring goals based on sexual orientation. Again,
this is a false statement.

I hope this clears up any confusion caused by the distortions of fact
that someone must have conveyed to you earlier.

I thought you might find the following recent statement by Curt Smith,
President of the Indiana Family Institute, of use, he said, "It is
encouraging that more pro-life, pro-family legislation became law in the
first few months of the new Daniels Administration than in any time in
the Indiana Family InstituteĆ¢€™s nearly 20-year history. But more
importantly, when there are issues we don't see the same way, we find open
doors and open minds with this Governor to our faith-based,
family-focused perspective on public policy questions."

Hoosier Values at the Statehouse
Governor Mitch Daniels signs laws that uphold and promote traditional
Hoosier values.

- Gov. Daniels signed into law a measure that requires health
care professionals to provide a pregnant woman with information about the
availability of an ultrasound and to listen to a baby's heartbeat
prior to performing an abortion.

- The Governor signed a law that requires birthing centers and
abortion clinics to be licensed by the State Department of Health.

- Clinics that provide abortions should be held to the same
safety and health standards as other out-patient surgical clinics.

- Gov. Daniels signed into law a measure that promotes patriotism
in our schools and allows students to observe a moment of silence.

- The law requires classrooms to display a United States flag
and provide a daily opportunity for students to recite the Pledge of

- The law also requires schools to provide a daily moment of
silence in each classroom

- The law also directs the Attorney General to defend any school
corporation that is sued in civil court because they followed the
provisions of this act.

- Gov. Daniels created the Office of Faith Based and Community
Initiatives through executive order.

- The Governor signed into law a bill that creates faith based
transitional housing for inmates getting ready to re-enter society.

Emily Munson
Office of the Governor

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paula--Thanks for your message. The Governor's office is receiving e-mails which were prompted by an alert put out by Micah Clark's organization, American Family Association of Indiana. Clark has made many misleading statements about Daniel's EEO Policy. I'm assuming your e-mail was mistaken for one it received in opposition to the policy. The response you received is an accurate interpretation of the policy. Clark has suggested that the policy will force employers to hire homosexuals--it obviously does not; it simply prohibits discrimination on the basis of orientation or identity.