Some in the GLBT community are putting out the word that a group of GOP CCC members will lead an effort to repeal the HRO if the Republicans recapture control of the CCC. Several Democratic CCC members are running scared, and they're concerned that GLBT voters are as upset about the mess Democrats have made of Indianapolis and might express that anger at the ballot box. GLBT voters, like all voters, should make informed decisions in exercising their right to vote and not base it on scare tactics conjured up by Democrats desperate to remain in power. An informed GLBT voter should be aware of a sea change in the Marion Co. Republican Party since the passage of the HRO. All but two of the GOP members of the council at that time voted against the passage of the HRO, and they did so at the urging of then-Marion Co. GOP Chairman Mike Murphy. He believed the vote could be effectively used as a wedge issue to dislodge vulnerable, incumbent Democrats in the 2007 municipal elections.
Times have changed considerably within the GOP locally since the beginning of the year. One of the GOP's most outspoken opponents of the HRO, Jim Bradford, resigned the CCC earlier this year in frustration. He was replaced by attorney Ryan Vaughn, who supports the HRO. Vaughn is seeking re-election to the council in District 3. Also, attorney Tom John was chosen by the Marion Co. Republicans to take over as chairman from the anti-gay bigoted Murphy earlier this year. Tom John, too, personally supports the HRO and discourages the use of the HRO vote as a wedge issue. Unlike Murphy, he is making a concerted effort to broaden the diversity of the Republican Party.
The Republicans nominated Greg Ballard as their mayoral candidate. During an interview with me, Ballard stated flat out that he would not support an effort to repeal the HRO. He began by saying he hadn't heard any complaints about any problems which had been created by the passage of the HRO. More importantly, he made it clear there were at least a couple of hundred issues deserving of a higher priority consideration. If Ballard defeats Peterson, there will be no effort on his part to repeal the HRO based on what he told me.
You have to also remember that nearly one-third of the GOP members of the council aren't seeking re-election this year, most of whom didn't vote for the HRO. The councilor other than Bradford who was the most outspoken against the HRO, Scott Schneider, chose not to seek re-election this year. According to GOP sources, several new GOP candidates are supportive of the HRO, including Bruce Schumaker (District 2), Kurt Weber (District 8) and Michael Hegg (At-Large). Hegg posted in a comment on this blog earlier this year the following: "I am against [SJR-7] . . . I applauded the passage of the HRO." Scott Keller (District 16), who is running for re-election, both sponsored and voted for the HRO. The Democrats are going all out to defeat him this year with yet another Mahern. The only other GOP member who voted for the HRO, Lance Langsford, did not seek re-election. Benjamin Hunter, an IMPD officer, is running in his place in District 21. I don't know what his publicly-stated position on the HRO is, but I know he's a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit brought against IMPD earlier this summer by the U.S. Justice Department, claiming the method IMPD uses to promote police officers within the department discriminated against Hunter and others on the basis of their race. I find it hard to believe he would support repealing an anti-discrimination ordinance at the same time he sought relief from a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race. UPDATE: AI has learned from an informed source that At-Large candidate Barbara Malone and District 19 candidate Harry Liggett oppose efforts to repeal the HRO. Also, Benjamin Hunter confirmed in an e-mail to me he does not plan support any effort to repeal the HRO. He added:
As a person of faith and conviction, discrimination can't be tolerated. I am sure you can find some who may criticize me on certain issues, but working with everyone regardless of race, sex, and orientation is not one of them. I may struggle internally with the issues that the GLBT community bring forth as I seek religious guidance, but I make no effort to discriminate, as final judgment is not mine.The GOP source I spoke to today believes there are other GOP council candidates who would likely oppose the repeal of the HRO as well. Please feel free to add their comments below if you have heard about their views on the topic. Let's make informed choices in this year's election. GLBT leaders have a duty to seek out the views of the actual candidates and not simply spread rumors manufactured by partisan Democrats worried about their own re-election. The bottom line is that there is no basis to believe Indy's HRO will be repealed if the GOP recaptures control. On the best day, the GOP could win no more than 19 of the council seats with at least a half dozen GOP members openly supportive of the HRO. Note that nobody in the GLBT community is clamoring for the defeat of Sherron Franklin (D) or Mary Moriarty Adams (D), both of whom expressed anti-gay sentiments to HRO supporters when they sought their support and both of whom voted against it twice. Think twice before you buy into these contrived rumors in the future.