Welcome aboard, Joe


On April 5, my wife and I had the absolute joy of watching my best friend and 64 other men perform music from the British musical theatre with the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus. The level of musical vocal talent in this group is astounding. The two guest female singers were pitch-perfect, and the three guest tap dancers were amazing. We particularly enjoyed the opening set of musical numbers from the Monty Python musical, “Spamalot.”

The last two songs before intermission were songs about marriage, including the “My Fair Lady” classic, “Get Me To The Church On Time.” Just before performing these numbers, the group’s director mentioned that he’d like to dedicate the next two pieces to Sen. Joe Donnelly. Now I must admit I didn’t quite understand the reference, but then the loudspeaker voice issued a warning that the next two pieces had the potential to destroy the institution of marriage. We all chuckled, and then watched as both songs were acted and performed without the benefit of either of the two female guest singers.

You see, all 65 members of the Indy Men’s Chorus are either gay or gay-friendly. Their performance, particularly the two “marriage” pieces, was part of a concerted effort to force Donnelly to join the growing list of Democratic U.S. Senators who publicly support legalizing same-sex marriage. To my surprise, the next morning’s Indianapolis Star front-page headline read, “Senator Donnelly Supports Gay Marriage.” I texted my friend and told him, “Your concert worked!”  Then I wondered, “Senator Donnelly, what on earth took you so long?”

Birch Bayh would never have harbored reservations about publicly favoring equality. Experts tell us Indiana is a “Republican” state. Experts tell us Sen. Donnelly won’t have to face the voters again until 2018, and surely by that time same-sex marriage will be legal. I’ve only met Joe Donnelly once, but I have to believe that he’s supported equality all along – that he didn’t even mention the issue during the campaign for fear he’d lose. While I’m disappointed he was one of the final Democratic Senate holdouts, I’m glad he’s now a supporter. I believe this will help his chances in 2018.

I also wish he had been present at the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus concert. You see, this should mean more to the senator than a mere political issue. There is nothing inherently “wrong” with any of the group’s 65 members. They eat and breathe pretty much as the rest of us. They go to work at jobs throughout Central Indiana, just as the rest of us. Many of them raise families, just as the rest of us. The only difference is that almost all of them were born homosexual rather than heterosexual. Shouldn’t they have as much right to marry those they love as African-Americans have to use the same toilets and eat at the same lunch counters as Caucasians? As a devout Christian, I don’t understand why their desire for equality is even an issue – particularly for other Christians!

As the U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with this issue, a funny but poignant picture is circulating through the annals of Facebook. It shows African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with his very blonde wife, and the caption reads, “Dear Justice Thomas, Please don’t forget that your marriage was once illegal in many states.” May we soon get over this unnecessary stigma against homosexuals and welcome them as full participating members in our society.

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