Tag Archives: Zach Adamson

The Times They are A’Changing

Last weekend, my husband and I attended the wedding of City-County Counselor Zach Adamson to his longtime partner Christian Mosberg.

The couple had been married legally the week before, in Washington, D.C., since Indiana does not recognize same-sex marriages, but a second celebration was conducted back home in Indiana. There was a religious ceremony, involving clergy from several faith traditions, and a reception at Talbott Street that doubled as a fundraiser for Freedom, Indiana–the organization formed to fight HJR6.

Indiana culture warriors Micah Clark and Eric Miller would have been in despair; indicators of social and cultural change were everywhere, and it went well beyond the enthusiastic participation of clergy.

The ceremony wasn’t just attended by friends and families, although there were lots of both. The sanctuary was crowded with local politicians from both political parties. The Republican Mayor was there, as were several Democratic and Republican members of the City-County Council. A number of them also came to the reception, where they mingled with the kind of large and diverse group of friends that is one of the great benefits of urban living.

I couldn’t help thinking about the first time I’d been to Talbott Street, back when it was a truly transgressive venue featuring female impersonators and frequented by patrons who were mostly still closeted. My husband and I were both in City Hall at the time, part of the Hudnut Administration, and we’d come to see a friend perform. We were enjoying the show, when I was approached by a young man I recognized as a city employee. He was absolutely ashen-faced. “Please, please,” he said, “don’t tell anyone you saw me here.”

That was approximately 35 years ago–a long time in my life (although the years certainly seem to have sped by) but a ridiculously brief period as social movements go.

It’s no wonder the pronouncements from the “Christian” Right have taken on a shrill and frantic quality. In what seems like the blink of an eye, GLBT folks have gone from a frightened, despised minority to a group of friends and neighbors with whom we are happy to celebrate life’s rites of passage.

Think I’m exaggerating the degree to which attitudes have changed? Yesterday, notoriously timid Indiana University announced it was joining Freedom Indiana.

Indiana’s legislators may be the last to get the memo, but homophobia is so last century!

This is Getting Tiresome

Micah Clark of the Indiana Family Institute is nothing if not dependable. And unhinged.

The Indianapolis City-County Council is considering a proposal that would extend benefits to unmarried employees whose significant others are either unemployed or cannot get those benefits from their own employers. Predictably, councilors received a long, rambling email from him with accusations that such a policy would “undermine marriage and mock Indiana’s marriage statute,” that it was a “political statement, not a policy change,” that children residing in the homes of unmarried partners “will be sexually, physically or emotionally abused,” and that “gay men are substance abusers at a higher rate than the general population.”

Zach Adamson–who has more patience than I would have with Mr. Clark’s accelerating emotional instability–calmly tried to respond to the torrent of accusations. As he noted, the proposal does not “extend marital benefits” as Clark charged; it simply amends the City’s employment package to adjust compensation levels. It is a human resources policy modeled after that used by over 60% of Fortune 500 companies to attract and retain a qualified workforce. Other midwestern cities–Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, for example–already have such policies.

Zach’s point-by-point takedown was a great example of trying to reason someone out of a position he didn’t reason himself into. It was also futile. The two page diatribe simply dripped with hatred for GLBT people, with accusations that gays are trying to destroy marriage, that lesbians are alcoholics, homosexual men syphilitic…well, you get the picture. It is impossible to read it without wondering what demons Mr. Clark is battling–what monsters are in his personal closet.

Thankfully, the days when Micah Clark and his ilk controlled the public discourse on these issues are over. Homophobes used to be able to use religion to deflect criticism of their hatreds, but increasing numbers of churches are endorsing equality for gays and lesbians. As their fig leaves are stripped away, nothing but incoherent fury and frustration remain.

Poor Micah Clark. I feel sorry for him, but I’ll be glad when society quarantines his particular strain of mental illness.