Saturday, March 17, 2012

The State Kills IYG Plate

The Indiana Youth Group's Plate
I am sure there's celebration today across Indiana in the homes of 20 State Senators, Micah Clark, and Eric Miller. Unfortunately, there's sadness with advocates for LGBT youth.  Indiana found a way to cut off sales of the Indiana Youth Group license plate.

The IYG apparently gave out low numbered plates as a thank you gift for donations.  Other groups had done it, and they had done it for years, but this year the contract loophole was enforced.  Three groups were targeted, and one was the IYG.

It might seem just a part of the normal process of contract law, but, given the comments of State Senate Pro Tempore, David Long, during the last week of the session, this was a telegraphed move.  Given the names of the 20 conservative Republican Senators that signed the letter to the BMV to pull the plate, this was a shot at LGBT Hoosiers.  Mostly, it was a shot at LGBT youth.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Senator Long not only said that this action came because of the violation of the contract with the state but because of a problem he and other Republicans had with the "distribution of sex education materials to young children."

Micah Clark, a right-wing lobbyist, told the Star that the IYG was setting up "homosexual youth groups" in schools with the money raised.  He must be talking about the many chapters of the Gay-Straight Alliance that are popping up in schools across the Hoosier State that are independently begun by students.  He wouldn't understand, though.  Clark has been saying that groups like the IYG are trying to recruit young people into a gay lifestyle.  What a crock know.

I am not proud of my state today.  Indiana is quickly becoming a place that's not very hospitable to the LGBT community.  The more I sit here and think about it; the madder it makes me.  Unless who you are has ever been under attack by your state, I guess you wouldn't understand.  In another forum, I might tell you exactly what I think of the Indiana Republican Senate caucus, but I believe that if I can't say anything nice; I won't say anything at all.

Every advocate should push for a moratorium on all specialty plates so that the actions of each organization that issues them can be reviewed.  The state should spend millions of dollars on the investigation.  After all, it's important to make sure that no one is violating the contract.  We can't single out three groups.

The state's action against the IYG is Indiana University's loss for me.  I will not renew my specialty plate for IU, and I will not buy another specialty plate until the IYG plate is restored.  Instead, I'll take the money that was going to IU and donate it to the IYG.  I urge you to do the same thing.

In the meantime, here are the 20 Senators that signed the letter to the BMV:
Brent Steele
Carlin Yoder
Connie Lawson (the new Secretary of State)
Dennis Kruse
Doug Eckertly
Greg Walker
James (Jim) Banks
James Birck
Jim Merritt
Jim Tomes
John Waterman
R. Michael Young
Pat Miller
Phil Boots
Randall Head
Richard Bray
Ronnie Alting
Ryan Mishler
Sue Landske
Travis Holdman

IYG is investigating what recourse it has from here.

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