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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Not going without a fight

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hundreds of civil rights activists protest a possible ban on same-sex marriages on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse downtown Indianapolis Tuesday.

Hundreds of people gathered together at the Indiana Statehouse steps in a heavy snow-rain mixture Tuesday afternoon carrying signs, flags and banners to protest the possible amendment to Indiana's constitution that would ban same-sex marriages.

"My marriage is not threatened by anyone else's," proclaimed Ind. Sen. Vi Simpson, D - Bloomington, on the steps of the Statehouse. Simpson said she has been married for 15 years and the possibility of allowing homosexuals to marry never has been a threat to her and never will.

Senate Joint Resolution 7 states "Marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Neither this Constitution nor any other Indiana law may be construed to confer marital status or any legal incidents of marriage upon unmarried couples or groups."

The resolution has been approved by the Ind. Senate and is being debated by the House.

While people protested outside, Advance America, a traditional marriage group founded and led by Eric Miller, rallied inside the Statehouse.

"I came out because there's so much noise going on inside," said Simpson, standing in the cold.

She encouraged the crowd to show the lawmakers political strength exists on both the right and wrong sides of this issue. "Together we can make this happen," she said.

Debby Lovell brought her young daughter to the rally to teach her she can make changes in society. She said she doesn't understand the opposition to same-sex marriage.

"How is that any skin off my nose (if they want to get married)?" said Lovell who has been married for 17 years. "I don't see how what my neighbor does affects my marriage."

As the protest continued, drivers passed the Statehouse on Capitol Avenue and honked frequently. When church buses stopped at the light near the rally, protesters made their presence known by directing their signs toward the buses.

While same-sex marriage is attacked upon the grounds that it is a moral issue, Michael T. Driskell showed up to protest the potential amendment with Bible in hand.

"The God I serve says 'whosoever'...he's not the God of heterosexuals, he's the God of us all," Driskell said.

Driskell is a founding member of the largest homosexual owned and operated church on this side of the Mississippi, the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, he said. He has been a Christian since he was 23 years old when he walked away from the gay lifestyle, but "for nine years I denied who I was."

"God loved me regardless," he said. "Being gay isn't a sin. Maybe how one conducts it is sinful."

Opponents say that homosexuals have loose morals, but this is a moral stand, he said. Driskell said he'd like to ask each senator how many times they have been divorced to compare the issues.

Sen. Anita Bowser, D-Michigan City, said this isn't about the Bible, "It's about the harm being done to our constitutional system."

Bowser showed the Bill of Rights to her colleagues in the Statehouse and said that was the first time many of them had read it. The majority will vote to amend because they're afraid of loosing their jobs. "Are you going to compromise your integrity for your seat?" she said.

Bowser brought the issue back to religion later in her speech and said, "I don't think God wants this type of discrimination."

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