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In a move that angered all the usual anti-gay crusaders, the Republican controlled Indiana Senate recently thwarted a push by conservatives to hold a statewide vote on marriage equality this year. The effort to enshrine bigotry into the Indiana State Constitution involves a three step process, the final step being a referendum to be voted on by the people. The Senate did ultimately pass one step of the process, bill HJR3, in a vote of 32-17 which does ban marriage equality in the state. However lawmakers removed the second sentence of the original proposed bill which would have banned recognition of any legal status for same-sex couples that is “identical or substantially similar” to marriage. The language of the sentence was seen as a step too far given the rapidly changing public opinion on marriage equality. Refusing to bow to pressure from their bigoted ranks to reinstate the sentence, the bill was passed without the crucial language, essentially kicking the ban can down the road until at least 2016 which is seen as the earliest an anti-marriage referendum could now be sent to the voters.

In the run-up to the final vote and after it passed with the second sentence removed, the hardcore hate groups were threatening retribution at the ballot box for Republican lawmakers who refused to be strong-armed into bowing to their will.

One of the most unhinged and critical voices came from within the Indiana Senate. Mike Delph, an unapologetic fundamentalist bigot representing the district of Carmel, was none too pleased. After his lobbying attempt to reinsert the language failed, Delph went on an 18-hour long Twitter meltdown, sending out more than 200 tweets haranguing his fellow Republicans senators and anyone else he deemed complicit in derailing a vote this year.

That was all to be expected. What happened yesterday was not. Senate President Pro-Tempore David Long along with other leaders in the party had a little closed-door tête-à-têtes with Delph and spanked him pretty soundly. As a reward for his over-the-top rhetoric, Delph was handed the following punishments:

• Delph will lose his leadership position as the Senate's Assistant Majority Floor Leader of Communications.

• Delph will lose his title as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

• Delph will lose his press secretary.

• Delph will be re-assigned to a new seat in the Senate chamber, alongside Democrats and away from Republican leadership.

Those were some hefty penalties imposed by his fellow Republicans. It wasn't all that long ago when a Republican was hailed a hero for hating on the gays as viciously as possible. The shifting sands on this issue couldn't be better illustrated by what took place in Indiana around bill HJR3. A Republican controlled legislature failing to fall in line with social conservatives and then publicly punishing one of its own for bad behavior is as refreshing as a summer rain.

However, just to be reminded we are still dealing with spiteful Republicans here, they made the calculated decision to punish Democrats in the process. What a cruel twist to make these poor people have to sit alongside Mike Delph.

Originally posted to Steven Payne on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM PST.

Also republished by Indianapolis Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I will be away from the computer (7+ / 0-)

    for a while and will respond to comments as soon as I return. Thank you for reading.

  •  Indiana (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Munchkn, bythesea, Redfire, sfbob

    This better be good. Because it is not going away.

    by DerAmi on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:52:21 AM PST

  •  Maybe Indiana is figuring out moderates (7+ / 0-)

    are a much needed breed?

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:52:37 AM PST

  •  Doubt it was hating on gays that riled them (21+ / 0-)

    More likely it was him hating on his fellow GOPers. Even so, nice to see them reining in one of their extremists.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:57:01 AM PST

  •  Stories like this... (15+ / 0-)

    ...always remind me of Joe.My.God.'s immortal tag, "Infighting Is Funny."

    On a more serious note, it's becoming increasingly obvious even to (some) Republicans that homophobia is a losing position. I predict that someday they will actually take credit for the LGBT rights movement, the way they've tried (unsuccessfully) to co-opt civil rights.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 12:09:51 PM PST

  •  Kinda surprised to hear... (11+ / 0-)

    that this guy represents Carmel. That's a high-income suburb of Indianapolis. I'd expect them to be all "don't tax me, bro!” but fundamentalism doesn't translate to business-friendly.

    He's been in the state senate for a while now, but this might just mark a turn in fortunes for this tantrum-throwing bigot.

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 12:42:24 PM PST

    •  Thanks for this detail (10+ / 0-)

      It makes the story that much more entertaining.

      •  District 29, Delph's district (9+ / 0-)

        I live in Carmel but fortunately not in District 29. Some serious fundies over there, as well as a bunch of very wealthy older conservatives who probably pull the straight line R ticket reflexively. Hope this incident is a wake up call.

        For reference, demographics are changing even in this area. For instance, it has been argued that the margin for Obama in this county gave him the state in 2008.

        Like Kansas, the moderate R's need a few more wake-up calls like this to understand what is happening (has happened?) to their party.

        "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

        by annan on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 01:46:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  When we lived in Carmel, Reagan carried 97% of (9+ / 0-)

      the vote. The only precinct carrying a higher percentage for his first election was Reagan's home in Orange County, CA.  Obama didn't win the Carmel vote, but carried 39% both elections.  That's coming a long way. Delph's reign in the State Legislature date's back to before Reagan.

      Heavy business pressure to back down from the radical Republican stance on House Bill HJ3 is coming from Eli Lily and both of the Big !0 colleges in Indiana.

      •  and the MONEY, let's not forget (8+ / 0-)

        i moved to socal from bloomington about a year and a half ago, but have kept up and eli lilly and cummins don't want this bs, cuz they know it'll keep their staff potential limited.  

      •  GOPer Mitch Daniels pulled Purdue to neutral. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, annan, a2nite

        Former GOPer governor Mitch [sic] Daniels was appointed to the university presidency of Purdue University by a board of trustees he had previously appointed.

        In the Indiana anti-gay constitutional battle, Purdue was neutral. Purdue and IU are the two Big 10 universities in Indiana.

        You may be thinking of  Ball State University, the third biggest public university in Indiana. They supported Freedom Indiana, the anti-constitutional amendment coalition that Eli Lilly and Cummings were big drivers of.

        Below is Freedom Indiana's list of anti-amendment supporters.

         You can see Purdue is missing in action, conspicuously absent.

        Colleges and Universities for Freedom

        Indiana is a welcoming place, and nowhere is that more evident than on the campuses of its college and universities. Students from across our state and nation and around the world are proud to attend Indiana’s institutions of higher learning.

        While they’re here, we want them to have an inclusive academic experience learning from extraordinary faculty and staff. And once they graduate, we hope they’ll stay. That desire to recruit and retain top talent is why so many of Indiana’s colleges and universities support Freedom Indiana’s effort to defeat HJR-3. We thank them for their support.

        Indiana University

        “Freedom Indiana’s goals are consistent with Indiana University’s longstanding and deeply held commitment to diversity and equality that serves as a foundation for our educational mission,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “Furthermore, HJR-3 sends a powerfully negative message to prospective employees of Indiana as a place to live and work that is not welcoming to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. As a major employer in the state, IU competes with universities and companies around the world for the very best talent, and HJR-3 would needlessly add challenges to our ability to attract employees to our campuses around the state.”

        DePauw University & Wabash College

        “The rivalry between Wabash and DePauw is longstanding and hard-fought,” said DePauw University President Brian W. Casey and Wabash College President Gregory D. Hess, referring to the Monon Bell football game. “But today we stand together to join this coalition and lend our voice to support this campaign.

        DePauw University and Wabash College understand that HJR-3 is harmful to our communities and our families. HJR-3 would also have an impact on the legacy of both schools, by potentially deterring graduates from remaining in Indiana. If HJR-3 were to pass, many employees, students, and alumni of both universities would be affected, and DePauw University and Wabash College are dedicated to ensuring that all Tigers and Little Giants are respected.

        “Our students come from around the country and around the world, and our fundamental goal is to educate them to think critically, exercise responsible leadership, communicate effectively, and tackle complex problems,” said President Casey and President Hess. “This depends on attracting talented faculty and staff, a task that is made more difficult by the passage of this amendment. We are also engaged in the enterprise of fostering ideas and innovation, a mission which inherently depends on an environment of openness and inclusion that would be compromised should this amendment be enacted.”

        Ball State University

        “Ball State University reaffirms our commitment to diversity and tolerance. We believe that providing a welcoming and supportive environment is not only morally right but also economically sound. To attract the best and brightest students and the most talented faculty and staff, we need to recognize the diverse needs of the university community.

        On behalf of its faculty, staff and students, Ball State opposes adoption of House Joint Resolution 3 and supports the goals of the Freedom Indiana organization.”

        Butler University

        “Butler University is an institution where all people are welcome and valued, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity; a culture of acceptance and inclusivity that is as old as the University itself,” said University President James M. Danko. “Continuing to attract diverse and talented students, faculty, and staff to Butler is of the utmost importance as we seek to provide an education that prepares our students to succeed in a multicultural workforce and global society.”

        University of Evansville

        President Kazee said that amending the Indiana Constitution in this way would “make it more difficult to attract and retain the talented students, faculty, staff, and administrators that make the University of Evansville the transformative institution that it has been throughout its history.” It is, he argued, “inconsistent with the core values of the University.” He cited UE’s stated commitment to enhancing “a climate of respect, understanding, and appreciation of difference.”

        University of Indianapolis

         ”After conversations with, and with support from, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, the Academic Affairs Leadership Team, the University Planning Commission, the President’s Cabinet, the Executive Committee of the UIndy Student Government, and the Faculty Senate, I write to inform you that the University of Indianapolis opposes HJR-3—the tenets of which stand in conflict with our policies against harassment and discrimination and our long-standing University culture of inclusivity.”

        Indiana State University

        Indiana State University’s Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Student Government Association have voted to oppose HJR-3.

         “Their actions are in keeping with the university’s handbook policy which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on several factors including sexual orientation,” university President Daniel J. Bradley stated.

        “Our governance groups saw this as a human rights issue that not only contradicts our current policy but, if adopted, could impact the University’s ability to attract and retain faculty, staff and students.”

        !Venceremos!

        Venceremos! (We shall overcome!)

        by Redfire on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 04:08:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Conspicious absense is an understatement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Redfire

          Thanks for posting this. As a Purdue alum I wasn't happy about Daniels taking the reins, but he's not out of step with the vibe there.

          "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

          by annan on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 08:31:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Delph will be assigned a new chamber seat (7+ / 0-)

    in the men's restroom in the basement of the bldg.
    Right next to his swanky newly converted 'no windows-no air conditioning-no problem' office that used to be the utility closet where office supplies and toilet paper were stored

  •  Wonderful strategic response? (9+ / 0-)

    I see the Senate's amendment to HJR 3 to be a shrewd move. The Indiana legislature didn't have the votes to kill HJR 3, but they did have the good sense to keep from embarrassing themselves in front of the rest of the country. They aren't oblivious to the speed of social change on this subject. Cases coming before the SCOTUS, if decided in favor of LGBT rights, would make Indiana look really stupid if HJR 3 passed this year. Amending it kicks the pink and purple can down the road by two years, more than enough time for the SCOTUS (and the rest of us) to weigh in and the country to respond.

    Mike Delphs's tirade tells me he understands the timing on HJR 3 and the threat it presents to his worldview. Blessings on the heads of his party's leadership for pruning a vine that could only produce bitter grapes.

    Why do you need to motivate your employees? Didn't you hire motivated people?

    by davelf2 on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 01:25:06 PM PST

  •  Wow. Those are some no-kidding penalties. (8+ / 0-)

    Severe enough to inspire me to find out more about just how awful was the Twitter tirade.  

    Normally the wingnut statehouse of someone else's state, would be just too tiring for me.  But I'll make an exception!  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 01:34:10 PM PST

  •  getting sent to the back of the bus (8+ / 0-)

    and being forced to sit with the democrats — that's gotta hurt!

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 01:55:46 PM PST

  •  ::sigh:: (14+ / 0-)

    It embarrasses me to know this individual represents me in the statehouse. I wrote to him a few times on the HJR3 subject, and his Twitter rant was the only response I received.

    One point that he kept making is something that I hear often from folks on the right, and one that I'm sure he's repeating to himself tonight. He felt that the backlash he received for stating his opinion was a form of hypocrisy from the left. He apparently feels that bigotry is his right as a religious man, and people should be fighting for his right to discriminate just as they are fighting for others to be free of that discrimination. It's tough to break such a circular argument.

    He also felt that the backlash he received is some sort of violation of his right to free speech. We hear this a lot, as well. But it's been said before -- and is worth repeating -- that what they really want isn't freedom of speech as much as it's freedom from criticism.

    But that isn't going to happen. One bright spot during Delph's Twitter rant came from a favorite restaurant of mine (Sahm's), who posted the following:

    "Our Valentine's Day special is whatever the f*@k @mikedelph was drinking last night for $1.99 and a cup of intolerance."

    I think I'll stop by there this weekend.

    We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.

    by EighteenCharacters on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 02:42:59 PM PST

  •  Precisely like the horrible old joke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    of the three really terrible guys, Harry, Joe, and Fred, who find themselves in Hell together. The Demon in charge of the entrance to Hell has the first one open a door, and there is Hitler. A voice from above announces, "Harry, you are condemned to spend Eternity with Hitler." The second man opens the door, and there is Caligula, and the voice announces, "Joe, you are condemned to spend Eternity with Caligula." But when the third man opens the door, there is Scarlett Johansson! And just as Fred feels the first glimmer of hope, the voice announces, "Scarlett, you are condemned to spend Eternity with Fred."

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:23:42 PM PST

  •  slap (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Steveningen, Aunt Pat, Dragon5616

    sadly, it probably wasn't in retribution for his actual position but because Delph went nuts in his rant against Long specifically.  He also criticized some pretty large wealthy churches in GOP controlled Hamilton Co, by name, for not doing enough to back the proposal.

    It's never gonna get on the ballot. Not because the democrats in Indiana have any strength, but because the serious mega employers of the state have strong armed its defeat and because now every 21 year old Hoosier, who are typically born and raised Red, is saying they're outta here because the state is so backwards.  

    Remember, Indiana is the state that debated and fought over (for 20 years), and still has legislative proposals periodically surface to overturn - daylight savings time - which just came into being in 2008 for pete's sake.

    (BTW if you read Delph's whole twitter tirade - the guy truly seems uncharacteristically out of control - one of the first questions a reporter asked him, was if he was drunk when he did it.)

    •  For everything you just said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, Dragon5616

      I'm sending this on to Saturday's Top Comments.

      And yes, I read a lot of the tweets he unleashed. What an interesting moment in Indiana with all of this.

    •  Don't know why everybody acts like this is (0+ / 0-)

      silly, what's silly is that we have daylight savings time.

      Remember, Indiana is the state that debated and fought over (for 20 years), and still has legislative proposals periodically surface to overturn - daylight savings time - which just came into being in 2008 for pete's sake.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:38:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The God botherers are comin' for the straight folk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steveningen

    next.

    So don't anybody go thinking they're "special, beyond reproach" to these Bible beaters. Cuz, you're not!

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