Marriage is love.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Indiana as Fundamentalist Dystopia or Patricia Miller's Real Life Handmaid's Tale

Just call me Offred but, oh, I hope this doesn't portend a trend.

Indiana State Senator Patricia L. Miller is a longtime homohater-in-denial, one of the "some of my best friends are..." kind and a leader of Indiana's overpopulated AIDS Hall of Shame who, among other offences, ignored the constitutionally required things like criminal intent or criminal negligence that make a crime a crime and championed criminalizing HIV transmission even when due diligence to practice safer sex was undertaken and the sex was between consenting adults (ask me later about the related rubber tree story), supported reinstatement of sodomy laws for consenting adults as well as all the usual antigay family laws and more, and tried again and again, by hamstringing and irrationally penalizing mental health professionals, to protect abusive parents not just from the consequences of the recovered memories of their victims but from their children even getting the chance to recover them, and on and on in her long career in a protected district -- all while being the legislative version of a cash cow for doctors and dentists and hospitals and nursing homes and carrying enough water for the wingnut fringe that, if she'd been in a race with the Army Corps of Engineers to empty NOLA, she'd have won.

In her personal life, she's become more and more active in her anti-queer zealotry, most notably as the executive director of the Indiana-based national Confessing Movement of the United Methodist Church and getting wackier in the process even as she's continued to win more than she loses. She's regularly threatened splitting her church (cynically even trying bribe and buyout options to encourage pro-gay clergy and congregations to leave), pushed the worst lies of the so-called "reparative therapists" as justification for her bigotry, and gotten more and more shrilly rabid as the culture has slowly moved in the opposite direction from hers. Not content with despoiling her own church, she's applied her legislative skills to spread her message to other denominations as an architect of the The Association for Church Renewal. And, typically, this wife of a Gideon bible pushing dentist has increased her personal public profile and power at every step along the way.

I have long personal experience with Senator Miller, have always respected her as a tough foe and treasured every time I stymied her bigotry-driven moves. I've thought her sincere in her beliefs and all-too-often sincerely wrong in them, too, but never thought that she'd drunk enough of the koolaid to push her over the edge. I can't say that anymore.

According to several personal sources, confirmed by a press leak picked up by bilerico's Jeff Newman, Senator Miller has legislation in the drafting pipe for the upcoming Indiana General Assembly session that would require women needing physician assistance to become pregnant to file a "petition for parentage" in probate court to receive a "gestational certificate" that would permit receipt of things like artificial insemination by donor and in-vitro fertilization. There would be criminal penalties assessed for "unauthorized reproduction" that apply to physicians and parents alike. And, like the church rules against ordained people in her church having sex outside of marriage that apply unequally onerously to gay people because we are not allowed to marry, the Catch-22 "privilege" of parenting via "assisted reproductive therapy" would be limited to legally married couples who've successfully passed the adoption screening process.

Her reason? Read any of the wingnut propaganda touting false claims of the superior fitness of opposite-sex couples as parents over all the rest of us. The inclusion of het single women in the excluded is as intentional as her movement's more and more boldly unconcealed contempt of them, too.

I know this sounds impossibly Orwellian-Huxleyian-and-Atwoodian-all-rolled-into-one. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this being introduced in twenty-first century America myself. But if your mind reacts like mine and wants to run to its Happy Place on learning this, please don't let it run too far. Don't make the mistake of writing this off as the eminently ignorable, going nowhere work of an old wacky Hoosier wingnut. Senator Miller is well-connected and knows extremely well how to transport hate across state lines. This one could be being readied to come to your state, too.