Author Archives: Allen Hutson

An American journalist in the 1960s and American sports in 2014

By Allen Hutson

Michael Sam and Jason Collins have made headlines over the past month for breaking barriers in two American sports. Sam, a 24-year-old NFL prospect from the University of Missouri, will be the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, and Collins is now the first openly gay player to compete in one of the big three American sports.

In spite of the fact that sports figures are frequently at the forefront of social change in America, athletes and sports journalists are rarely, if ever, comfortable with social commentary. Most would prefer to politely dismiss both stories. “Yes” to historic, “no” to distraction, and “please” to moving on. Continue reading

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Indiana moves backwards on marriage

–By Allen Hutson

Indiana Republican legislators took another step closer to a giant leap backwards Wednesday night. The Indiana House Elections and Apportionments Committee heard public testimony on a placing a  constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the 2014 ballot. A few hundred protestors stood watching the testimony from inside the capitol’s rotunda.

Wednesday’s four-hour hearing was the second in as many weeks. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the same bill on Monday, January 13th, but due to concerns that the bill didn’t have the votes to get out of that committee, Speaker of the House Brian Bosma shifted the bill to the more conservative Elections and Apportionments Committee.

The highlight of Wednesday’s hearing was the testimony of Carol Trexler, a small, bald woman in her early sixties. Carol began her testimony by describing how she and her partner spent thousands of dollars crafting contracts creating some marriage-like benefits. She carries copies in her car to present at hospital visits to ensure her partner is able to make medical decisions for Carol if she isn’t able. Carol described how important the word marriage is to her. Doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, family, and friends don’t understand how to treat a couple who has contracted for a marriage-like relationship. They don’t understand the meaning of dozens of legal contracts engineering marriage-like benefits. They understand what marriage is, and they know how to treat a married couple.

The bill to put the amendment up for popular vote passed the committee 9-3 with every Republican supporting it. Fortunately, the committee vote isn’t the last hurdle before the referendum; it now faces a vote on the floor of the House Monday, and if passed, it will continue on to the Indiana Senate.

Carol ended her testimony with two moving admissions. She was subdued as she described the added difficulty of making end-of-life plans when the state doesn’t recognize your partner as your spouse. She was emotional when she explained her feelings about the amendment. Carol testified against it just hours after undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer.

Individuals craft plans and organize their lives in pursuit of their dreams – no matter how ordinary those dreams may be. Whether it is a beach vacation, a new car, a better home in a better neighborhood, or winning a battle with cancer, people pursue their dreams with the ones they love. Marriage is an institution that describes the union between two people, and how they, as a union, interact with society as they pursue their dreams. It is a long-standing social institution, and social institutions that survive adapt.

Same-sex couples like Carol and her partner live their lives together just like my parents do. They are involved in their community in the same way my brother and sister-in-law are. They pursue their dreams just like my wife and I do. They are married, and it is time that the state of Indiana and the Republican Party recognize it.

It’s not government that has redefined marriage — it’s the people who have

By Allen Hutson

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation blog recently posted another piece on gay marriage. It is further proof that the social conservative view on gay marriage isn’t just wrong, it’s anti-Republican. Anderson rushes to frame recent same-sex rights decisions as judicial activism. As Stephen pointed out the argument is hypocritical, but the flaws don’t stop there. Anderson is also wrong in claiming that the government is redefining marriage:

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds…Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

You don’t have to look very far to see who revised the definition of marriage—it’s the people of this country. Businesses proudly employ gay people and offer benefits to same-sex partners; same-sex couples raise children and participate in school functions; same-sex couples function in communities alongside straight couples. In short, courts aren’t redefining marriage—they are keeping up with a changing social institution.

Lisa Murkowski’s op-ed supporting gay marriage from awhile back not only reflects this social change, but it also explains how Republican principles should lead Republicans to support. The U.S. Senator from Alaska rightly argues that legalizing gay marriage isn’t a matter of government intervention—it is about personal autonomy—the freedom to pursue your life without government interference—it’s the stuff that Republicanism is made of!

By opposing the legalization of gay marriage, Republicans fail to honor their party’s principles when those principles matter the most—when some in the party disagree with the way others live their lives. Whether you agree with gay marriage in your church, your community, or your family is irrelevant. Legalizing gay marriage is about personal autonomy and freedom from government interfering in your life. Anderson and the folks at the Heritage Foundation should recognize this before they push more people, especially younger voters and independents, away from the Republican Party.

Allen Hutson is a risk analyst in the private sector, writer based in Indianapolis, and Purple Elephant contributor.