09 May 2011

The Indiana State Legislature is Hurting All of Us

Hello, I am Nicholas Goldsmith, a 21 year old from Indiana and a Boilermaker - and the current Republican-controlled Indiana State Legislature is hurting me, my friends, and my family.

While I was born outside of DC, I have lived in Indiana for all of my living memory. My parents grew up in Indiana, and my grandparents grew up or lived out their days in Indiana. Yet I am afraid Indiana is slowly losing its home feeling. I can’t say I am planning my future to be in this state, because I am not. Not with the direction it is headed. That saddens me, but I suppose we all have to face reality.

While it has been against Indiana state law for some time now, the Indiana General Assembly feels the need to rub salt in our wounds and try to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage with HJR-6. It is crushing to see our elected representatives call us, our neighbors, our friends, and our families immoral and corrupt. Plus, it isn’t just marriage they are after. They want to block us from ever having civil unions or domestic partnerships. They feel any form of recognition for same sex relationships is too much to handle. It is crushing to see this happen. It makes me worry about my state. It makes me worry about its future. I have known I was Gay for a long time. I have been a committed relationship for two and a half years. But the Indiana State Legislature has decided that is wrong. They have decided that who I love is wrong, and that everybody should know it.

What is worse is myself and my LGBTQ friends and family are not alone. The Indiana State Legislature is on the attack. I have friends who were born in the United States, legally became citizens, are legal resident aliens, or even who are undocumented immigrants who fear for their safety because of the passage of HB 1402 and SB 590. One of my friends at Purdue from Columbia is worried that she will be subject to frequent police stops if this passes. I have friends who worry they won’t be able to get an education because of this law. I worry about my friends. I want them to have a good life. I want them to have opportunities, and I don’t want them to live in fear. Purdue is a major international university. How will it be able to attract the best and brightest if those from other countries are afraid of our laws?

I also worry about my teachers. How will they fare under all of this? Haven’t schools already given enough? How much more abuse can our educational system take? What will this mean to future Hoosiers? How will they compete in a globalizing society?

I worry about my friends who work. I have friends who work hard, long hours and depend on Union protections. How will they fair with the Indiana legislature?

I worry about many of my female friends. I have a number that depend on Planned Parenthood for their contraceptives. I have many friends who have taken advantage of Planned Parenthood’s STD Testing. What will happen to them? What will happen to the STD rate, and their treatments? I have even taken advantage of Planned Parenthood’s free HIV testing. The service was important to me. What will happen to these services if Republican control of Indiana’s legislature continues?

If we think of all of these issues as separate, we are fooling ourselves. The same people that seek to ban same-sex unions are also seeking to defund Planned Parenthood and their vital services such as STD and HIV testing. The same people seeking to pass a papers-please law are seeking to end the rights of workers to unionize. And these are the same people that are going after our schools. We can’t allow this to continue.

We have to put our hope into the Democratic process, and to do that we have to inform ourselves. We have to organize. We have to get people registered to vote, we have to let people know what the legislature is doing, and we have to vote. We can’t sit and wait for change. We have to be the change.

I am Nicholas Goldsmith, and I will vote against those who vote against me, my friends, and my family.

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