Martin got the obligatory gay-bashing response from the AFA's Micah Clark. Martin writes, "Micah Clark, director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said all crimes should be prosecuted, regardless of whether the victim was chosen for a specific reason." "Clark also said sexual orientation and gender identity are different from some other categories included in Porter's bill because they involve a choice." "I don't think cross-dressers should be mistreated, but I don't think they should get special legal treatment because of the choices they're making," he said. "I've never met a former African-American, but I have met several former homosexuals."
The fundies just refuse to acknowledge a person's sexual orientation or gender identity is an innate characteristic by insisting it's a choice. But they still insist upon what they like to refer to as "special rights" for people based on their religion, which actually is a choice. Their actions create real harm to people like Vivian Benge. Martin shares her story with us:
Vivian Benge remembers walking in downtown Indianapolis a few years ago and having two men approach, hurling insults and threats at her for being transgender. Benge ducked into a mall to escape.Martin reminds us of the sad statistic: Indiana is one of only five states in the country without a hate crimes law. Porter tells Martin he hopes to revise the legislation next year. HB 1459 passed out of the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee by a 9-1 vote, but it died on second reading after Democrats decided not to call out it down because of a controversial anti-abortion amendment Rep. Jackie Walorski sought to attach to the bill.
"I didn't even realize how they knew I was trans, but some other people had outed me to them," said Benge, who was born a male and has undergone surgery to become a woman. "They decided it was OK to hate this person and make threatening comments" . . .
Benge said sexual orientation and gender identity are not choices.
"I always knew that I was different," she said. "By the time I was 6, I was being chided for not being like the other boys."
"The hate crimes bill would have been a way for the state to send a message that this kind of behavior is no longer acceptable," she said.