Saturday, October 07, 2006

Densborn No Friend Of Gays

Chris Douglas, Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce founding president, has a thoughtful analysis of Republican Kathryn Densborn's campaign to unseat Rep. David Orentlicher (D), perhaps the biggest champion of GLBT rights in the Indiana General Assembly. Douglas, a Republican, gave every effort to finding a reason to support Densborn, but he concludes she's no friend of the GLBT community. Douglas writes:

. . . In my opinion, and probably in hers, she is no Scott Keller, no Lance Langford, no Mitch Daniels, no Carl Brizzi, no Donna Edgar, and no Todd Rokita.
While Densborn may seek endorsement or identity with any of these personages, and while she may run on an economic program (with which I agree), it seems to me it would be a disservice to her views, and contrary to the understanding of her base of support, to characterize her as moderate on matters important to the glbt community. Both fiscally and socially, Kathryn Densborn is conservative, and is proud to say so.

Those who favor banning same sex couples from any of the legal protections that civil marriage provides; those who favor making this ban a Constitutional one to ensure that the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and religious freedom will not apply to same sex couples; and those who are uneasy with providing to glbt citizens the same protection from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in public accomodation enjoyed by other Americans can vote for Kathryn Densborn in good conscience. Whether or not she agrees with the full ramifications of the amendment, she has made clear that her vote would be in its favor.

Orentlicher's re-election is critical to the Democrats effort to win enough seats to recapture an outright majority in the House. Douglas' analysis of Densborn pretty much mirrors what I've heard about her. It is truly unfortunate that a bright, professional woman like Densborn would lack social enlightenment when it comes to gays. Orentlicher is clearly more in step with this district and should be able to defeat her, but the GLBT community shouldn't take his re-election for granted.


Anonymous said...

(Incidentally, for the benefit of readers otherwise unaware, as of October 1st, while founding president of the Rainbow Chamber remains an accurate description, I am now PAST president! My statements on Bilerico regarding Densborn, Dickerson, et al reflect my personal views and observations, and should not be construed necessarily as being the views of the the Rainbow Chamber or its board, official or otherwise.)

I think Kathryn Densborn is similar in conservative philosophy to Theresa Lubbers... a statement with which I think both would be comfortable. Both are more conservative than popularly understood. I know many women who have thought Theresa Lubbers to be pro-choice. She is not. Nor, of course, is Kathryn Densborn.

Wilson46201 said...

David O. is one very smart dude who certainly gets out and about. I kid him that he's not only omniscient - he's omnipresent!

His very last name means "Seeker of Truth" - appropriate, eh?

Anonymous said...

Theresa is SCHOOL choice. She tried to blindside Supt. Reed on ISTEP testing calendars late in the last session, and Suellen did a sidestep GOP bitch-slap that could be heard across the Statehouse. Suellen won. And won my admiration. (But the lapel flower has to go, honey...)

Theresa and David Shane, et al were lying in the tall reeds, however, and have now made sure the State Board of Ed is controlled by MMM appointees, including Shane himself. He is a true enemy of public education.

Nonetheless, Theresa is to the right of Atilla the Hun on most issues. She just does it with a smile.

Virginia Blankenbaker is surely not pleased.

We must find a good Rep. to run against her, given that the district is 58% or so GOP. Chris...waddaya doing in 08?

If not, Dems need to find someone who can run against the tide. Theresa's time has come. And gone. After all, lest anyone forget...she sleeps with Mark.

Gouge my eyes out.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get how anyone - GLB or T - could possibly in their right mind EVER vote for ANY Republican, excepting, perhaps, Lincoln Chafee.

- A party which won in 2004 in large part due to gay marriage ban initiatives in some key states.

- A party whose base says that you're all moral deviants, not even worth of being able to have a job.

I just don't get it. Wouldn't it be easier to work with the party having a track record of working for minority and gay rights, getting their economic agenda turned around?

Seems a whole lot more logical than trying to convince a party - a large part of which believes to their core that you're all baby-raping, child molesting, ass-munching freaks who should be burned at the nearest stake - to accept you into their fold.

Help me understand, please.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 7:19, the answer could be discussed in depth, and perhaps I will on some other occasion when I have more time.

But in summary, the Democratic Party in Indiana did nothing to move the ball forward until moderate Republicans began competing for the gay vote. While there are many sincere Democratic politicians, Orentlicher being one of them,the Party as a whole has been no less manipulative of the constituency. Running Democratic candidates in rural areas in 2004 on anti-gay marriage platforms is an example of the Democratic Party being less than sincere about progress, and quite sincere merely about securing a constituency while undermining its interests.

Other examples of interesting cross currents: George Bush speaking more postively of civil union than virtually any leading democrat in Indiana. John Kerry opposing the national marriage amendment.. but supporting a ban on marriage in Massachusetts. (I was no supporter of George Bush.)

The human rights ordinance in Indianapolis required not only the participation of moderate republicans to pass, but leadership as well.

The Republican Party has been a big problem, but it has only been with a willingness of moderate Republicans to move forward that we have seen progress in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this will sound like heresy to many in this crowd, but you're not necessarily anti-gay or ultra-conservative or whatever monikor you want to put on it just because you want to maintain the traditional definition of marriage.

Put another way... If you want government to stay out of your bedrooms, then why do some of you insist on taking your bedrooms to government?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon 9:46, Indiana law has never recognized gay marriages. Back in 1995, Woody Burton sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, which codified what had already been the law. Now, they want to go one step further and write the ban in the constitution, along with some other language denying any legal incidents of marriage to anyone, gay or straight, who is unmarried. When you go that far to deny a right to a class of persons, it strikes people like myself that there is a definite element of gay bashing behind it, particularly when the same people who push such ideas also think employers and landlords should be able to discriminate against people because they are gay. These are the same folks who thought it perfectly fine to take gay people's bedrooms to government by writing laws which criminalized consensual sex between adult gays.

Chris Douglas said...

Anon 9:46, below don't, take the "you" personally... but it reflects the anger that gays feel as Americans:

who are you to interfere with my family? Who are you to deny us the equal protection of the laws that civil marriage provides? Who are you to deny us the religious freedom to marry when many churches wish to do so? Who are you to write our guarantees to equal protection out of the Constitution? Who are you to write our guarantees of freedom of religion out of the Constitution?

I don't care what your personal beliefs are... you can be anti-kosher food if you want... you can be anti-Fish on Friday... but you cross a line in our civilization when you amend the Constituion so that your views prevail over the Constitional rights of your fellow citizens, in this case, so that its guarantees have no force on a segment of the population that, conservatively, is at least 5% or 1 in 20. You make a mockery of American claims to being a "land of freedom." You make a mockery of the Bill of Rights.

It is that you are anti-gay... or ultra conservative.. it is that you fundamentally don't grasp what the whole point of America is.

As an Air Force officer, if I recall correctly, I pledged to protect and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. I could not have imagined that the its enemies are domestic. It's an outrage.

Chris Douglas said...

By the way, Anon 9:46, read the principles of the First Republicans ( or an organization mainly of straight Republicans, especially the one about amendments.

Get with the program and take it upon yourself to subordinate your views as an individual to your responsibilities as an American.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 9:46.

I think Gary made one of the most important points on this issue when he said: "Indiana law has never recognized gay marriages." That statement, it seems to me, is completely contradictory to the more common statements in this discussion that argue that gay marriage is a Constitutional Right. If it is not even recognized, then how can it be a Constitutional Right?

I do not speak for all supporters of the "marriage amendment," but I can tell you that a lot of us have absolutely no problem with anti-discrimination laws for housing and employment. Nor do many of us have problems with civil unions and other such recognitions.

The problem we have is the attempt to redefine the institution of marriage. (And yes, we recognize that the current state of marriage is not infallible, but we are also interested in a variety of things to make it stronger.) The problem we have is with unaccountable courts that are creating new legislation from the bench and are reading things into laws and constititutions that any clear reading does not recognize.

And getting to the side issues that have been brought up here: Our problem is not with rental protections, it is a question of whether the law needs to create new classes of citizens, which has the effect of dividing our society even further, or whether laws currently exist to prevent such practice. And our problem is not with employment protections, but in addition to the immediate point above, it is with new laws that would require an employer, in their privately-owned business, to be held to a new level of scrutiny and to think twice, for example, when denying employment to a man wearing a bra and a dress.

With all due respect, if you really want these issues to get a fair hearing, then you need to work a little harder at staying focused on the issue and at understanding the real thoughts of those who oppose your position. If you do not do that, then you cannot expect others to afford you the same courtesy.

Frankly, the tone of hatred towards Densborn and Lubbers makes pretty clear that you do not even want their support. So why would you expect it? Instead of taking one position on one issue and jumping immediately to all the "hate" accusations, why don't you try listening to what they actually say. To do otherwise is simply hateful in itself. And that, I respectfully suggest, is no way to promote a reasoned policy debate.

Chris Douglas said...

Correcting a typo from my earlier post... the sentence should read:

"It isn't that you are anti-gay... or ultra conservative.. it is that you fundamentally don't grasp what the whole point of America is."

Anonymous said...

Chris, I ask again:

Don't you live in Theresa's district? Waddaya doin in 08?

Depending on who that gaggle elects as Pro Tem, you might find yourself an outcast, though.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon 9:14, a hundred years ago, Ms. Densborn wouldn't even have had the right to vote in this state and country, let alone be a candidate for the state legislature. How does she have any constitutional rights now? The traditional recognized marriage viewed her as nothing more than the property of her husband. She belonged to her father until he gave her away to her husband during their traditional marriage. So what's your point? There's no hatred being directed in their direction. You obviously haven't read what the folks on the religious right have been saying who have been pushing these constitutional amendments all over the country.

Anonymous said...

Okay, 9:43, I'll bite: What IS "the whole point of America?"

I certainly am not the hateful, gay-bashing person that you seem so ready and willing to label people; but I really don't recall special protections for homosexual behavior as anything that motivated our Founding Fathers.

Would you care to elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Gary, but you're continuing to counter your own point. Densborne and all other women got the right to vote because of the 19th Amendment. It was not interpretted by some unaccountable judge who created new definitions within the English language.

Gary R. Welsh said...

So it's okay to add to the rights of a favored group, while doing everything possible to deny rights to a disfavored group. I think that's what you're saying.

Anonymous said...

The word "marriage" has unfortunately contributed way too much gas to thie fire.

No amendment to the Constitution should diminish anyone's rights.

There. It's that simple.

I'm thinking of not calling it marriage, and calling it "kerfuffle." One of Wilson's words that I've come to love.

4:50, I understand your cunundrum. But please understand
this: if anyone tries to make my sexual activity and partnership choice, a negative in the eyes of the Constitution, when it's not warranted...I'm no danger...well, then I might become dangerous.

Government needs to leave me and my life partner alone.

Anonymous said...

No, Gary, that is not what I am saying.

Do really think that women were a "favored group" when they got the right to vote almost a century ago? Or do you really think blacks were a "favored group" when they got the right the vote? Obviously, "favoritism" has absolutely nothing to do with this.

Nor is this an issue of "denying rights." Go back and read my post from 9:14 this morning. I know there are differing views on both sides of this debate, but everyone I know who supports the "marriage amendment" is doing so because some other members of our society are trying to fundamentally change the definition of marriage. And unaccountable courts are reading new meaning into common English language in order to support that overhaul of meaning.

Just because some of us want to protect a traditional meaning of marriage does not mean that we want to take away anyones rights. Quite to the contrary, it could be argued that the people who are trying to change the definition of marriage are actually trying to take something away from society.

I am disappointed, Gary, that you are so blind on this one issue. It really does not match your thoughtful style, your resistence to personal attacks and your resistance to overblown conclusions, which you demonstrate on so many other issues.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon, the only rationale courts can come up with for defining marriage as between one man and one woman is that opposite sex couples can bring children into this world as a consequence of an impulsive sexual act, whereas same sex couples can only have children through reasoned planning. Because of this, we want to encourage opposite sex couples to have stable families for the best interests of the children they bring into this world. Traditional marriage is not working. More than 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Moreover, more and more opposite sex couples are choosing to cohabitate and have children without formally marrying. Now, I ask you in what does the legal recognition of same sex marriages threaten traditional marriages. It seems to me that heterosexual couples have done a pretty good job dismantling traditional marriages all on their own.

Anonymous said...

As I said earlier, you'll get no argument that traditional marriage has its problems. But a lot of the same people who are trying to protect the traditional definition of marriage are also trying to improve that institution.

As for the definition of marriage: You are right. There is no definition in the Constitution that defines it as one man and one woman. Nor is there is a definition of religion. Or press. Or soldier. Or war. Or public trial. Or hundreds of other nouns that part of that document.

Nor are there definitions of "is" or "it" or "the" or "by" or etc, etc, etc.

These words don't need definitions because they have meanings that stand on their own. And that is the point. We have people in our society who want to change that, who want to distort common meanings of common words, like "marriage."

As an earlier poster stated, go ahead and call it "kerfuffle", if you like. If you did that, then you can bet that only a very small minority (too little to mean anything) would be interested in regulating or legislating on this issue. Most supporters of the "marriage amendment" would gladly leave you alone.

Wilson46201 said...

"Traditional marriage" did not include divorce - but divorce isnt illegal today. "Traditional marriage" abhored adultery - but adultery isnt illegal today. "Traditional marriage" punished childbirth out of wedlock - but that isnt illegal today.

Society changes - so do definitions. "Traditional marriage" has been trashed thoroughly by heterosexuals themselves - all that seems to be left it is a political rhetorical stick to beat gay folk with.

Chris Douglas said...

Anon, I've been attending to business today, but do have my own points to make on this topic.

The whole point of America is not merely Democracy, but Freedoms guaranteed by the bill of rights. It is a country and system by which the Constitution protects us all from the tyranny of the majority, not a 21st century expression, but one understood and limited by our astute founding fathers.

There are two constitutional rights on which the marriage ban encroaches: The freedom of Religion and the right to equal protections under the law.

The reason those who propose to amend the Constitution are confronted with the necessity is that the language of equal protection and freedom of religion could not be more clear... the Constitional mandate could not be more black and white. So the only way of preventing us and our families from living in peace and freedom under the equal protection of the law is to amend the Constitution to deny us the right to freedom of Religion and the right to equal protection.

It is a disgrace that gay citizens of other countries are now finding their way to freedom, that same sex partnerships are recognized and offered varying degrees of equal protection in Spain, Holland, Canada,South Africa, and several American states... an ever growing list.. yet denied in the cradle of Freedom that is America.

One day, Anon, if you had the courage to attach your actual name to your anonymity, you could easily face having children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews to whom you have proposed to consign a lifetime of second class citizenship. You are right to proceed in anonymity, for in the eyes of your progeny, your position against the constitutional rights of other citizens will ring as poorly as the prejudice that once prevented blacks from drinking of the same water fountain or whites and blacks from marrying.

"Marriage is between a man and a woman" is no more a definition than "Marriage is between people of the same race."

Those who haven't bastardized the institution understand that marriage is between two otherwise unrelated people who love and respect each other and commit their lives to each other. Maybe if, for instance, conservative churches adopted a real definition, they wouldn't suffer the highest divorce rates in the United States. But that is their right.. to define marriage as they may wish. They have no right to impose their definition on free Americans protected by the Bill of Rights.

Chris Douglas said...

By the way, Anon, I don't see anything in my previous writings that expresses hatred of anyone. My descriptions of Densborn and Lubbers could not be more accurate, or more acceptable even to them. Go back and read those descriptions.

Then reflect that it is our family into which you propose to intrude... you have no more business doing that than my telling you that you can't marry your wife.

Rights are inalienable... not subject to law... and our history has been one of the expansion of law to guarantee pre-existing rights... which is why blacks and whites can now marry... Americans always had the rights... but it took time to remove the laws that impeded those rights.

As Abraham Lincoln said, those who would enjoy rights but suppress the rights of others should go to Russia, where you can have your tyranny untainted by the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Wilson46201 said...

Chris - damn, you're good!

Anonymous said...

Chris, Wilson and Gary,

I don't have a desire to continue this conversation much further. Whether intended or not, you have already labeled me and others as bigots -- a charge that is very serious in this day and age. Yet, you do that without knowing me very well or even inquiring further about my thinking. And believe me, you definitely do not have a full picture of me, or others whom you have demeaned.

So I will close my posts to this strand by noting three things briefly:

First, it is clear that you will never admit it, but there is a clear and common definition of marriage. Consult any poll over the last two years of this debate and you will have ample evidence of that. Clearly, you do not like that definition; but that does not change simple fact.

Second, I know this will sound inflammatory, but I offer it with sincerity and with true intent of sparking thought. By all the reasoning that you have offered for changing the definition of marriage (or for recognizing a different definition that already exists, in your opinion), what exists in your line of thinking that would not extend the exact same thoughts to poligamy or marriages involving children? Think about it.

Finally, I am a little shocked, frankly, to see you comparing your own plights to those of blacks and women. How can you possibly maintain a straight face while comparing your desire to have a relationship recognized in a certain way to those people who were put in bondage, forbidden to vote, etc.? It will not be my comments that will draw ire from future generations, but I already know plenty of people today who are offended by your own comparisons.

Best wishes to all of you. I really do mean that.

Wilson46201 said...

fwiw, a poll taken at the time when miscegenation laws were struck down by court fiat would have found a similar public opinion opposition as is found today in the discussion of gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

11:35, I'm sort of astounded at some of your reaching, but I feel your pain. Many of us have to reach hard to try to explain our plight to folks like you. Here's a tip, after a lot of effor ton this subject: Relax. You're gonna pull something.

You suggest in your latest post that public opinion polls do not favor redefinition of traditional marriage. This, I guess, we should all give up and not fight The Amendment. Glad to know we've become a plebicite. Those same polls overwhelmingly disagree with this crazy war in Iraq. On your logic, when can I expect my two cousins home from their third ans second tour of National Guard duty?
I'll inform their parents...sure they'll be pleased.

There is no definition of multiple controversial words in the Constitution. Our Founders made it difficult to amend the Constitution for a reason. Thank God for their foresight.

Not to worry, friends...regardless of this thread and those who favor The Amendment...I am relatively certain the Democrats will win the Indiana House. For two years, then, The Amendment will not come up. Which means, thanks to our Founders' tremendous foresight, this Amendment is dead, and must restart in 2009.

Which gives us plenty of time to change some of the dismal numbers in the Senate.

I've worked closely with Sen. Lubbers on legislation. She's polite, smart and ambitious. She is further right than anyone imagines, I think...and her kind- ness throws some people off. That's OK, better to be civil than shrill.

But her views on multiple issues should scare the living Hell out of most of us: school vouchers, The Amendment, civil rights, the budget...I could go on, but you get the point. I am relatively sure, after reading up on her, that Ms. Densborn would be the House's Sen. Lubbers. Yikes.

Theresa is Pat Miller Polite. You've been warned.

Chris Douglas said...

Nice try, Anon, your statement about sparking thought is an old, tired line... the same "what next?" was an argument against inter-racial marriage. Regarding a slipperly slope to marriage with children, children are understood not to have any legal decision making capacity... two adults do have that legal capacity.

Regarding polygamy, which I don't favor, polygamous marriage is both biblical and widely practiced on this earth... and arguably has advantages over serial marriage and divorce, which is most certainly condemned in the new testament. I'll let you puzzle that one out, but what makes two same-sex adults getting married any more likely to lead to polygamy than two heterosexual adults getting married?

The suppression of the rights of gays is not distinct from the suppression of the rights of anybody... and has similar effects. Gays have been imprisoned and executed both in this country and abroad for what we now know to be mainly an immutable biologic phenomenon. Teenage youth with same sex orientation in rural conservative Indiana contemplating suicide because they are isolated with condemning parents, church, and community are going to fail to see the any distinction between their misery and the misery of others. All such misery is obscene, and should be brought to an end with nondiscrimination law and the encouragement of equal and fulfilled lives.

Here are how your posts read, whether you know it or not: "I have no problem with blacks.. I just don't want them drinking from my fountain... it devalues my fountain and what next? Will we have to let animals?"

I wish you the best, too, Anon. Really.

Chris Douglas said...

By the way, Anon, I've reviewed my writings and don't see where anywhere I've labeled you a bigot... I think I've fairly well stuck to the substance of the issues....

Regarding the "definition of marriage" you assert, it is interesting to note that the vast majority of American Jewish, for instance, harbor no opposition to same sex marriage... no do the vast majority of non-religious.. nor do the majority of youth... Your definition is not universal... it is specific to a certain viewpoint... a viewpoint which you seek to impose on minorities who have other religious views (let alone human requirements of their own for happinenss) and whose rights to religious freedom and equal protection to should prove adequate shelter from your impositions.... but you prefer to change the constition, rather than allow us our freedom as Americans.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn Densborn is without question a rather upright individual, steeped in conservative thought. And it wouldn't surprise me if she is also a sexually uptight individual. Maybe she will become a more open minded individual if she spreads her legs more frequently