Indiana was just a long flat stretch of earth that I had to endure between the equally endless Ohio and Illinois in order to get to the exotic city with the giant Arch on Wednesday and again on Sunday during the less festive trip home. But there seems to be a lot of bluster whirling around Indiana these days, so let's go there.
I am straight. I like men. I like them a lot. I do not like homophobia. I dislike it a lot.
Truth: if you draw a line and designate one end as 100 percent gay and the other as 100 percent straight, we'd almost all fall somewhere between the two extremes. And the more you try to convince me you're at the 100 percent straight end, the more I think you're closer to the middle than you care to admit. After all, how many anti-gay preachers have proven this point? (And yes, I've had bi-curious moments in my life. They did not stick.)
So what the hell is going on in Indiana? The pithy memes and angry shouts don't reveal much. The Indianapolis Star, however, published a very thoughtful read on the subject by Stephanie Wang:
In Indiana, about a dozen cities, including Indianapolis, have local nondiscrimination laws that specifically protect gays and lesbians in employment, housing, education and public accommodation, which include business transactions. But in much of Indiana there is no such protection. The concern among opponents of the law is that it could embolden people to challenge those local laws, reports Wang, subsequently adding, During RFRA discussions in Indiana, state Republican leaders have dismissed statewide class protection for sexual orientation or gender identity. She goes on to note how the Christian Conservatives were the force behind this latest measure.
I have no idea how the Indiana situation will play out (but according to the numbers, the good guys are winning the big game), but it will play out. It will likely dash any presidential aspirations for Mike Pence. Perhaps more significantly, now that Indiana has pushed this issue to center stage, will unconditional support for similar "religious rights" laws become a litmus test for the 2016 GOP primary? How far will the zealots push Jeb & Co. on this when the country is running so fast in the opposite direction?
Just like I had to endure the miles of Indiana as a kid in order to get to the gleaming Arch, the GOP is going to have to wade through this thorny mess in order to get to 2016.
Lumber on, elephants. The parade is simply fascinating. Disgusting, but fascinating.
* * *