Rep. Espich on supporting bigotry: "I sure do!"
Topic: Inddianapolis Living
Representative Jeff Espich (R 82) was asked, "You don't support bigotry do you, Sir?" His reply? "I sure do!"
There were around 150 people protesting against House Speaker Brian Bosma's Beer Bash for Cash last night at the Rathskeller in the Antheaneum, and my partner Stephanie and I were two of them. Bosma is a leading proponent of anti-GLBT legislation, and as House Minority leader orchestrated the walkout of the House Republicans when then-Speaker B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) refused to hear the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. When Republicans gained control of the House in the 2004 election, Bosma made the amendment one of his top priorities, claiming "this is the most critical piece of the people's business."
Our problem with Bosma's fundraiser is, of course, that Massachusetts Avenue was revitalized primarily by gay and lesbian business owners who moved into the area and restored buildings and built prosperous businesses when most of the real estate there was boarded up and the Republican mayor at the time, Stephen Goldsmith, was ignoring the area. Now Massachusetts Avenue is a flourishing cultural district, and Bosma was attempting to cash in on the success of GLBT people's hard work by holding a fundraiser designed to raise money to crush the very people who made the area a success. Fortunately, he failed, because our protest was a smashing success.
Bosma's party expected 500 supporters, but they had no more than 50 people in attendance, and apparently at one point Bosma was pounding the table in frustration over the noise and commotion we created.
We held up signs outside the event; we took photos of people entering and leaving the fundraiser, chanted and talked to people on their way in, gave them leaflets and information on why we were there, and when their fundraiser moved outside to the beer garden, we walked around to the side of the building with a bullhorn and chanted and talked to drown out their speeches. We also aired some of the dirty laundry some attendees brought with them; several politicians who claim to support "the sanctity of marriage" have some less than stellar records when it comes to marital fidelity, and a list of those incidents read into the bull horn stopped some Bosma supporters in shock.
The protest was organized by the Indiana Action Network (a direct action group) and attended by people from StopTheAmendment.org, Greater Indianapolis Fairness Alliance, Indiana Equality, Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, and Rock Indiana as well as many individuals.
The event was not without incident; one male Bosma supporter viciously attacked Outword Bound Bookstore owner Tamara Tracy, attempting to steal and break the camera she was holding after she took his picture. He was stopped and quickly hustled inside where he couldn't harm anyone else.
"Bosma Faces Protesters over Gay Marriage Ban" -- That's the headline on the Star article about the event. In the Star, Bosma has a very strange quote:
"I'm not overly concerned about any protest," Bosma said. "We will just have to agree to disagree on this issue."
I'm not sure what he thinks that means, really. We're not going to "agree to disagree" when heterosexual people enjoy special rights that are denied to others. We're not going to "agree to disagree" on the issue of being denied health care benefits and the ability to see our family members in the hospital. We're not going to "agree to disagree" on being fired from our jobs because some people are bigots. We're not going to "agree to disagree" when gay and lesbian youth are harrassed in school. We're not going to "agree to disagree" when we're told we can't worship as we please.
There's no agreement with any of those injustices here.
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