Greg Zoeller, Mike Pence, Micah Clark and the Dustbin of History

Well–yesterday certainly was a DAY in Indiana!

Federal Judge Richard Young–no wild-eyed ‘librul’– issued a beautifully-crafted, soundly-sourced opinion invalidating Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriages. As a (recovering) lawyer, I read the entire decision with appreciation for its logic and application of precedent; it was extremely well-written, without more than occasional resort to the “legalese” that jurists so often employ.

As quotable as much of the 36-page opinion is, however, my favorite paragraph is this:

“In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions–laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear the the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage–not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.

At virtually the same time as Judge Young handed down his ruling, the 10th district Court of Appeals was upholding lower court decisions invalidating Oklahoma and Utah bans.

It’s over. I know that is a bitter pill for our elected homophobes to swallow, let alone the folks whose fundraising depends upon demonizing gay folks, but it could hardly have come as a surprise. The handwriting has been on all the walls for several years now.

It’s past time for Greg Zoeller to stop spending Hoosier dollars defending discrimination. His determination to appeal a decision that mirrors every other decision the courts have handed down is an exercise in futility, a waste of time and money, but of course, he and Pence and the other Professional Christians can’t help themselves.

They refuse to understand that they already live in the dustbin of history.


  1. “It’s past time for Greg Zoeller to stop spending Hoosier dollars defending discrimination.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. I also wanted to point out the utmost hypocrisy of AG Greg Zoeller who has the gall to claim on the homepage of his website that he fight for justice for all. The quote should read that he fight for justice for all unless his Church tell him you are icky.

  2. I’m reading this on the morning of my marriage to my partner of 16years, Jenny, just before we head to the Monroe Co. Clerk’s office. Gotta get there early to beat the issuing of a stay! Thanks, Sheila!! Great piece!

  3. Memory fails me so I have a question; is there a box identifying sex on marriage licenses? Wouldn’t be surprised if Indiana has slipped that in during recent years. Due to the law of averages; there will be some divorces involving these couples later, will the same divorce laws apply? Are our illustrious “leaders” working on that issue and will same-sex marriages have different rulings involving child custody and support and division of property? If the current ruling stands (I hope, I hope, I hope), we must prepare for the next chapter in this situation. I have sent my congratulations to friends who have long wanted to marry; they have been together for about 15 years and have steadfastly supported one another in times of problems, serious health and financial problems and continuing cancer after-effects. Beth White aleady had my support in the upcoming election but seeing her obvious approval as she performed marriage ceremonies yesterday proved she is one to stand up and fight for our rights. As I have so often stated before; get out and VOTE in November, don’t let the GOP millions in backing scare you away. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it certainly does buy elections.

  4. Your title includes Pence, Zoeller and Clark. How do they keep getting elected? What are they offering the voting public that is so appealing? Does the public want the narrow, unenlightened view of life that they represent? Indiana is like a sepia photograph of life of life in the late 19th century and there seem to be a lot of vocal people who want to keep it that way. I congratulate the proponents of same sex marriage on their constitutional victory, but I think it will be decades before many people in Indiana accept it.

  5. Daleb, Pence et al. definitely reflect the views of a majority of Hoosiers. The overwhelming super-majorities of religious conservatives in the General Assembly makes that clear. Plenty of people are already predicting calamity. It was before my time, but when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states couldn’t prohibit interracial marriages, I am guessing the response of many people was similar. Decades later, only the most hardcore racist even thinks about it.

    You’re absolutely correct: it will be decades before the number of vocal opponents dwindles. It can take a long, long time to rid our societal DNA of prejudices—many generations, in fact. But we’ll get there.

  6. I couldn’t believe that Indiana came to the future! Whoo Hoo! Congratulations to all of the couples in Indiana who will be smiling all day today!

  7. Actually, this may be a relief for Pence who knew that the tide was turning on the marriage amendment and had good reason to believe that he was going to be connected with it in 2016. Now he is free of it and the controversy he would have had to fight. In fact he is now free to say that he was victimized by the courts, and that if they hadn’t ruled, he would have shared in a glorious victory with the amendment. This guy is, after all, a little evidence-free.

  8. The “freedom for some” folks will fight every step towards freedom for all. The concept of equal under the law is foreign to them. It means that someone regards them as not superior and therefore not entitled. Imagine!

  9. And now the gay rights folks can experience the whittling away of their rights, just like women’s reproductive rights. You will have to take the same hill over and over and over, eating up an enormous amount of resources that could have been better spent on education, jobs, environmental protection, health care, etc., etc. They will experience the frustration and anger that comes from fighting the same battle over and over and over and over. There is an endless supply of upholders of the white male privilege–support even from the very people harmed even though they are too thick to realize it.

  10. girlcousin, you made a good point about the whittling away of rights. We can all point to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The old white males won’t be happy until they take the U.S. back to when women and minorities knew their places, and nobody even talked about being gay.

  11. Seems like he was channeling his inner Rawls with this quote…

    ” These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street.”

    Those damn immutable characteristics. Science will eventually show sexuality is no choice and the religiously inspired argument will then fully crumble into nothing.

  12. A wonderful Day. Greg Zoeller will continue his quest to waste tax dollars in his pursuit of equality for some. The Rabid Right will continue to try to push the buttons of the State Legislators that are in their pockets. The Rabid Right has lost the War and the Battle on same Sex Marriage.

  13. Doug Masson put a link to the decision in his blog. The conclusion was inspiring and affirming. These are last couple sentences: These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such. Today, the “injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood” ends.

    I get the impression that the judge really doesn’t care about the status or position of either Pence or Zoeller.

  14. No. The majority of Hoosiers would support the decision. Make no mistake. But the money, even from out of state, is going to be behind ANY divisive issue. As we know, money is now a person and money/people talks. This is not difficult to see and understand. People used to assemble and protest before mixed couple couple homes. ( That’s after they stopped burning them.) But they never did this without some agents provocateur mixed in the crowd. Such devils will always be among us. Why? Because it always works. When were you taught in school about the real history of unions? Where did you learn of the good they did to America and for you? You can find the ill everywhere and most of us are not savvy enough to connect the dots. Especially the dots on the ballot.

  15. Earl Kennedy’s point along with girlcousin’s should have us looking back at Sheila’s “Sunday sermon”. Saliency is a problem. Most Hossiers would support the decision, but they don’t vote. There was some commotion in the Democratic LGBT community with people who decided that not voting was better than supporting John Gregg, who was not in favor of marriage equality.

    In the ’60s we talked about lesser evilism. Do you stay home and let Nixon win, or vote for Humphrey, who was loyal to the man who chose him to be VP. People don’t look at the big picture, only what is salient. Reproductive and voting rights didn’t seemed in danger, so people who cared didn’t vote or ignored their chosen cadidates beliefs on these issues. LGBT community be warned. Girlcousin has a good point.

    Rusty, a quick point from this blog’s erwhile-scientist commenter. About two decades ago scientists were able to change one gene and turn a heterosexual fruitfly into a bisexual one. I haven’t kept up with the research, and for scientists it was always a scarey area for research, but we have long known that sexual orientation is genetic (or epigenetic) and quite “natural”, to use a word I hate. Sorry to upset any religious sorts who believe it is a “choice”.

  16. Until the past 10 years I was an Independent voter; picking and choosing the candidate I believed to be the best choice based on their campaigns. I deeply resent being virtually forced by the current GOP to forgo voting for a Republican I believe to be more apt to keep campaign promises on some issues…Senator Richard Lugar is an excellent example. I am in the position of voting straight Democratic ticket as self protection; if some candidates are not strongly behind each and every one of my views, that is the luck of the draw. I have to look at the bottom line, the probable outcome of any Republican being elected to any office on any level of the political scene due to the multi-millions of dollars paying for their souls. They have proven repeatedly that their word is no longer their bond. They are gradually, under the guise of pseudo Christianity, removing our civil and human rights in this state and too often at the federal level. Look at Boehner; if I am pronouncing his name correctly, he is properly named as a man with a hard-on for anyone who supports any issue supported by President Obama.

    Pence and Ballard parrot one another’s views and Zoeller puts the power of his office behind them. VOTE, damnit, VOTE. No vote IS a vote; it is tacit support of the status quo! Yes; I have said this many times before and will say it many times again till someone listens and understands that sitting at home on your butt on election day is not going to improve the current situation nor will it change the escalating advances of the GOP into our personal lives rather than working to protect all Indiana residents – even those they do not like and do not agree with. If they don’t like a law – they change it to their advantage. They will continue to fight LGBT residents and women’s rights till their dying breath…the dying breath of the current version of the GOP.

  17. The GOP has made it clear that their future is not as a polical party at all but as the International Brotherhood of CEOs and Oligarchs.

    That’s fine with me as it makes politics more straightforward. I still have to be reliable in voting, but my choice is made during the Democrat Primary, and Election Day is pretty straightforward.

  18. We still haven’t addressed the question as to why does government think it has a right to be involved with ANYONE’s marriage. It’s not government’s job to determine “Morality,” and we need to get rid of those officials who think they should have that right.

  19. I have a related question that might be obvious, but I can’t seem to pin down an answer with a Google search. Why do county clerks get to decide to issue licenses or not in a case like this? Are they just plain not complying with the ruling? Do they have some leeway—and what is?

  20. Both girlcousin and Len make excellent points. But have you watched the appointment and election of judges in recent years? I have seen a number of frightening folks ascend to the bench. It was not legislators nor administrators who whittled away reproductive rights, though they helped. It was court decisions that really did the job. While I have no proof, I suspect some of the right are now quietly and carefully rebuilding our justice system. What happens when a future supreme court repeals (correct term?) the rulings of Judge White and others in order to again ban same sex marriage? What happens when abortion is again deemed to be murder in all the states?

    If we really care, we must watch the shaping of future courts and make sure that future generations are afforded the protections we believe the Bill of Rights entitles them to. This requires more than just voting. Knowing what is happening and educating all voters about it is crucial to preserve this nation’s freedoms. A big job. Are we up to it?

  21. Beth – I agree with you completely. One of my main arguments for voting and voting for Democrats in the last several decades has been the appointment of Federal Judges including the Supreme Court. Appellate Judge Richard Posner, no liberal, has noted that every appoinment to the Supreme Court has been a replacement with a more conservative judge, including appointments by President Obama (although those shifts are minor). Also, note that Republican presidents have remembered the “change” in the late and much reviled Earl Warren, and have put ideological considerations first and foremost.

    The bottom line is the same — pay attention and VOTE in every election.

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