For Once, a Good Day

Yesterday was a trifecta for those of us who live in Indiana and care about public policy.

Two separate federal judges enjoined major parts of two of the most shameful acts passed by the most recent Indiana General Assembly–the immigration bill and the anti-abortion bill. (The latter not only defunded Planned Parenthood, but also required doctors to give women medically inaccurate information. Both provisions were enjoined.) The ideologues who “serve” in the Indiana legislature had been repeatedly advised that both measures had serious constitutional infirmities, but hey–why let a little thing like the constitution get in the way of serious pandering and outright nuttiness?

If the issuance of those injunctions wasn’t satisfying enough, late last night New York State passed a bill authorizing same-sex marriage, and Governor Cuomo came to the floor to sign it.

There was a lot to relish about that victory for fundamental fairness and basic civil rights.

The New York legislature is controlled by Republicans, but the majority party did not block the vote, and four Republican votes provided the margin of victory. The Governor was one of the bill’s strongest supporters. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, hailed the bill’s passage. And New York’s authorization doubled the number of Americans who now live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

A few minutes after the bill passed the New York Senate, the Empire State Building “went Rainbow”–the building was bathed in rainbow lights that had been purchased for the city’s Pride Parade that, in a happy coincidence, was scheduled for today.

Granted, yesterday was only one day, but it was a welcome recess from the pettiness, stupidity, anti-intellectualism and bigotry that have characterized our civic and political life for far too long. I don’t know about you, but I plan to savor it.


  1. While the injunction against portions of the anti-immigrant legislation is indeed great news, any celebratory feelings are dampened by the knowledge that this injunction will not affect the HB1402 section of the legislation. So, after next Friday (1 July), undocumented IU college students who graduated from Indiana high schools will have to pay out-of-state tuition. This will, in essence, make their college education unaffordable. Though their parents have paid Indiana taxes and though many of these students have lived in Indiana most of their lives and attended schools in Indiana, the talents and potential of these students will be wasted due to the absence of fairness in the neural circuits of those sitting in our legislature. While I acknowledge the importance of partial victories, I cannot join in any partying.

  2. While I agree with you in sentiment dsuzuki, I’m inclined to take heart when any part of these laws is enjoined-and hopefully declared invalid.

  3. You made the comment, “why let a little thing like the constitution get in the way of serious pandering and outright nuttiness?” I think we can all agree that slavery is evil for a number of reasons, including the fact that the enslaved are denied God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    I was wondering if you think an unborn child is denied these same rights when they are aborted?

    Never mind, why let the constitution get in the way of “serious pandering and outright nuttiness.” Better yet, why let morality get in the way of convenience of living without the burden of a child.

  4. Whatever our different opinions about abortion, other than issues involving a woman’s right to autonomy, the constitution has nothing to say about the issue. I assume those who are anti-choice agree, since there are periodic efforts to amend the constitution in order to add a “Human Life Amendment.”

    I respect people who believe that human life begins at conception, although I am not one of them. But framing the issue as “morality” vs. “convenience” is intellectually dishonest. Women who make such decisions lightly are no more common than are pro-life activists who kill doctors. Surely, an issue as fraught as this one deserves more civil discourse.

  5. SheKenne, You have framed a poor argument. I consider “pro-lifers” who murder doctors to be immoral and murderers. Have you looked at the abortion statistics? How many abortion doctors have been murdered in the last 30 years, and how many unborn babies have been killed. Obviously there is a great number of women who make such decisions “lightly.” I cannot respect someone who considers a “women’s autonomy” more valuable than the life she’s carrying inside her. Why do you place more value on the women than the child?

    I consider “civil discourse” exposing the truth and not beating around the bush.

  6. I think you miss a point Jedna. It is certainly a harder issue than you put forth. I think very few things are as black and white as we try to make them (I consider this part of the human condition).

    I think this issue is more complicated than the rights of the unborn. This philosophical argument on the subject I found interesting (I read it in Marc Houser’s book “Moral Minds”)
    I think that this argument really balances the right of a mother to decide what she does with her body (and pregnancy isn’t a 100% safe bet even in today’s times) vs. the rights of a child(fetus). Which one trumps the other?

    Another point, is that the law de-funding Planned Parenthood will likely have the opposite effect it intended. It seeks to reduce abortions, but by reducing the amount of people receiving contraceptives it stands to reason unplanned pregnancy will increase as well. that means one of two things: either increased abortions (though, possibly not in our state) or increased use of public welfare.

    At any rate, I think the attached article effectively demonstrates that this issue is not black and white. We do need more civil discourse on the topic, as I think your responses to Sheila demonstrate.

Comments are closed.