Culture War Governor

I see from the morning news that Mike Pence is promising to attack Indiana’s economic woes by focusing like a laser on “protecting marriage.” If the nexus between those things seems a bit…shall we say “attenuated”…he explains that children of intact marriages are less likely to live in poverty.

That’s true enough. The question is whether we elect a governor to address a long-standing social issue with complex causes rooted in social change–social change a Governor is unable to affect (or evidently, in Pence’s case, understand), or whether we elect a chief executive of our state to manage budgets, pave roads, maintain state parks and improve underperforming social service agencies. Those mundane tasks clearly do not interest Mr. Pence.

We all recognize that Pence’s interest in the health of the institution of marriage rests less on his belief that intact families will lead to a better Indiana economy than on his determination to keep GLBT folks from forming those families. If Pence really cared about the health of families, he wouldn’t be waging war against Planned Parenthood, opposing access to contraception, or even more adamantly opposing the Affordable Care Act. ┬áThe availability of affordable health care and family planning do have a demonstrable impact on families. Same-sex marriage just as demonstrably does not.

If Pence’s unctuous concern for the state of Hoosier marriages actually extends to the prevalence of divorce, how does he plan to insert the Governor’s office into that issue? Will he make it more difficult for the woman leaving an abusive spouse to exit that relationship? Work toward restrictive divorce policies that keep children in intact, unhappy homes?

There really are public policies that are family-friendly, that support women and children and ameliorate some of the predictable effects of single-parenting. Income supports and social services for impoverished children would make a real difference. SChip has been a godsend to thousands of them. But those aren’t policies Mike Pence has ever supported. In his case, “concern for marriage” is just a euphemism for policies that discriminate against gay people.

If Pence becomes Governor, it is going to be a long four years.


  1. And very important to the public policy debate is the ability of democratically elected representatives in the Indiana General Assembly to discuss and vote on measures that would help ALL Hoosier families. Yet the GOP is almost certain to again introduce and support HJR-6, which would amend Indiana’s constitution to keep those lawmakers from passing measures “substantially similar” to marriage. Much more than just banning “same sex marriage”: nothing close to domestic partnerships or civil unions. So much for representative democracy.

  2. If Pence is focusing on the institute of marriage as a basis for his election; he needs to read statistics on divorce rates and unmarried couples with children. There must be statistics regarding the number of broken relationships of all kinds where the woman is left sole support of thousands of these famiies. These statistics would probably focus on the number of men who don’t bother supporting their children once they walk out, married or not. Add to this the fact that court ordered child support is ignored by thousands of these fathers but is not considered a violation of the court order. Women must stand in line, pay another fee to file a separate charge to try to take them back into court to force payment. These are families that need protection from our courts; not a social issue to base election of any politician on. And; marriage or non-marriage, heterosexual or homosexual, interacial, mixed religions, whatever the former circumstance, these relationships resulted in families which should be protected by law and basic human rights. These couples did not make their relationship decisions based on politics.

  3. I wonder how “Pence” is dealing with the possibility of his savior being married ?

    The French (idiots as usual), no longer having Kate’s Boob’s to put on the front page. Have had to resort to second best, a cartoon of Mohammed. (lets p— off the radicals again)

  4. Sheila, I feel unwelcome in my home State.

    I was born in Indiana and have lived my entire life here. I hold degrees from two State-run universities. I’ve contibuted time and money to various Hoosier community and charitable organizations. I’m a decently paid attorney and I’ve owned property in downtown Indianapolis since 1986. I pay my fair share of taxes.

    My mother was married three times. My father married twice. Many of my friends and family members have been married more than once and produced children without being married. I’ve been is a steady, committed relationship with the same man for 32 years.

    I believe I contribute to the prosperity and well-being of my home State. I’m not a threat in any way to anyone or anything. Yet, as you and others have well documented over the years, there are reactionary forces that see all this differently. A leader of those forces is about to take the bully pulpit of the governorship.

    I’m dismayed and distraught, disillusioned and disappointed. My faith in the decency and fairness of my fellow Hoosiers is shaken and I dread what’s awaiting people like me when Pence and his ilk have complete control of our state government. We will not be welcome in our own home.

  5. He is unbelievable…try working on the fact the heterosexual divorce rate is around 60%. Maybe he should try working on that since its that 60% divorce rate may be a contributing factor to so many women and children living below the poverty line.

    He is able to use unintelligible remarks because there are too many counties where the high school drop out rate is around 18%. Urgh!

  6. Doug; you are the type of person we need in all political offices throughout this state and this country. You are the type of man I wish my sons had as a father figure throughout their lives. I was married and divorced four times, three ex-husbands are black men but race was never the issue; through all of them I tried to set a good example of a caring and responsible wife, mother and human being. A piece of paper does not make a marriage; two people do that with love, consideration, commitment, responsibility, total honesty and a lot of hard work. I hope John Gregg is aware of the erroneous route Pence is taking by singling out married couples; 1 man and 1 woman of course according to his rules. My gay and lesbian friends are friends in the true meaning of the word and it is shameful that they, and you along with your life mate, could lose more of your civil rights due to politics.

  7. As that guy who plays the sun in those Jimmy Dean commercials would say, “You’re ALL awesome!”

    Just ordered a great pin to wear: Ann and Nancy Wilson (rockers, “Heart”) mentioned the pin on Joy Behar’s new show, “Say Anything!”, and I sped over to Amazon to order it. The pin quotes George Carlin (RIP!): “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups!”

    Pence is NOT awesome!

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