Sunday, April 01, 2007

Don't Expect Any Help From Daniels On SJR-7

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly asks in her "Political Notebook" column this morning, "Wouldn’t it be nice to know what Gov. Mitch Daniels thinks of his former employer Eli Lilly and Co. coming out against the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage?"Answering her own question, she writes, "Too bad we can’t ask him. What were once weekly availabilities with Daniels for the Statehouse press corps quickly dropped to every other week and now have dwindled to infrequent events."

Kelly isn't the only person asking the question of Daniels. House Speaker Pat Bauer thought Gov. Daniels should take a public position on SJR-7 in light of the position taken by the company at which he formerly worked as a top executive. It is a good question to ask of him because of the importance he places on the state's economic development efforts. When you have five of the state's leading businesses--Cummins, Dow AgroSciences, Eli Lilly, Emmis Communications and Wellpoint--all calling for the defeat of SJR-7 because of the negative impact a message of intolerance will have on their ability to attract and retain the best talent for their companies, you would think Gov. Daniels might feel compelled to speak out against SJR-7.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Gov. Daniels to join the anti-SJR-7 bandwagon. The fact is Gov. Daniels has already taken a public position on SJR-7. He supports it. Only once during his term as governor has Daniels stuck his neck out, if you want to call it that, to express support for equality for gays and lesbians. A few months into his first term he quietly re-enacted an executive order putting in place an EEO policy for state employees which prohibited discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Similar policies had been enacted by former Govs. Frank O'Bannon and Joe Kernan. The religious right immediately launched an attack against Daniels, which ended only after Daniels met with the Indiana Family Institute's Curt Smith to assure him he wasn't going soft on gays. Daniels later spoke at a dinner hosted by Smith's anti-gay bigoted organization.

Daniels' retrenchment on gay civil rights became readily apparent when he commented to an Indianapolis Star in 2005 that he would not lend his support to Indianapolis' human rights ordinance barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation of gender identity--the same language in his own EEO policy. “I think private associations, private businesses ought to be left alone to make their own decisions within the existing civil rights statutes. In public office a clear declaration that discriminatory hiring is not permitted is worth making clear.” He added, “Communities ought to be left a free hand to decide what rules they want to live under, at least within the framework of the national civil rights statute and the Constitution. I’d leave that up to Marion County, but I’d be reluctant to see that imposed top-down on the whole state or all citizens.”

Daniels has warmly embraced any piece of legislation making its way to his desk which has been advanced by the religious right since he's been governor, whether it's a crackdown on sex offenders or making sure every Hoosier has a license plate with "In God We Trust" emblazoned on it. But when he had the opportunity earlier this year to lend his support to legislation which would have ended Indiana's worst in the nation status on hate crimes, Gov. Daniels refused to publicly support the legislation because of fierce opposition from the religious right.

So when push comes to shove, Gov. Daniels would rather assuage the religious right to head off any potential primary challenge in his 2008 re-election than take a position our leading Indiana businesses say is needed to move our state forward, not backwards. Daniels isn't such a principled politician after all.


Wilson46201 said...

Amos Brown, dean of Indiana's African-American journalists, has a strong anti SJR7 column online at

Anonymous said...

I think it's safe to say Daniels has no love for the Christian Right, and in particular Eric Miller. Too bad he doesn't have the balls to stand up to them.

Anonymous said...

From The My Man Mitch...A Leader for All Indiana "Journey to Indiana's Comeback" we page

The Problem:

Indiana had a net job loss of 106,000 since May 2000; Hoosiers now earn less than 90 cents for every dollar earned by the average American; Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in the retention and employment of college graduates, which is why the state is 14th in the nation in the number of degrees granted, but 43rd in the percentage of residents who have a college degree.

Current state policy tilts toward the jobs we’ve known, not the jobs we need. It tilts toward big business at the expense of small business, and offers nothing to encourage entrepreneurial activity.

A New Direction:

We must begin by reversing our state’s economic decline, because all future success in every other area is dependent upon it. Indiana is rich in assets, but badly under-performing. We have a strong workforce, good cost structure, great location, and some of the nation’s premiere research universities. Yet other states are taking market share – jobs, income, and young talent – away from us.


....C'mon Mitch, read your own propaganda every now and again. Your silence on SJR7 shows you aren't really committed to economic development.

Anonymous said...

Amos is a bigoted homophobe. HIs show has become Angie's List on the air. Embarrassing and over the top.

To top it off, he hands out some quasi-legal advice, as an unlicensed attorney. If I were his station's lawyers, or his E&O insurer, I'd shut that crap dowon PDQ.

He shamelessly shills for ads, and belittles anyone who doesn't advertise on his show as racist.

Not many people pay any attention to Amos any more anyway. Thankfully.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Amos' column is good, Wilson. I hope Rep. Carolene Mays is paying attention to the points he made in that column. She voted for SJR-7 2 years ago.