As a 62-year-old Indiana native, I found the Religious Freedom Restoration Act absurd. Only 0.4 percent of Indiana households are same-sex (11,000 couples) with 198 marrying in 2014. The number of people who would actually refuse services on the basis of conscience is even smaller, and if someone found it objectionable to cater a same-sex wedding, most couples would just look elsewhere. This law affects a very, very small part of the population and ignores the real problems of our nation’s families.
In the late 60s, Indiana was home to many international corporations; small towns had thriving manufacturing businesses. Under-age beer drinking was reserved for prom night and graduation. No teenager owned or wanted a gun. Homosexuality was taboo. My rural hometown of 4,000 had 10 churches; we studied catechism Saturday morning.
There was no school prayer in the 60s, and according to my 89-year-old mother, there was no school prayer in the 30s. In high school, I had two closeted gay friends, one who later died of AIDS.
My grandmother left her two young sons in the early 30s and moved west. She was very religious and lived most of her life with another woman. Their relationship was rumored strange. Is this what they want to restore? Families have been destroyed by ignoring homosexuality, not embracing it.
Today, many manufacturing facilities in Indiana are closed. Once quaint small towns now look like ghost towns devastated by poverty, substance abuse and the crimes associated with them. My sister, a third-grade teacher, says family issues have had a disastrous effect on our schools. Teenage pregnancy, divorce, incarceration for substance abuse, unemployment and low wages are real issues affecting today’s families, not same-sex marriage.