Indiana's House of Representatives are debating the state's proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality today. In the meantime, Chris Smith, the gay son of a Representative who supports the ban, is making his story and his voice heard in a different forum.
Chris' father is Milo Smith (R), Chair of the Indiana House Elections Committee, who voted last week in favor of advancing the anti-LGBT ban to the House for a full vote. Chris took to Indiana Equality's Facebook page over the weekend to post this message:
Hello everyone. I am the gay son of Representative Milo Smith, chairman of the Elections Committee that just passed HJR-3 onto the full House. I'm not here to badmouth my dad. I'm terribly disappointed in his decision and beliefs, but he's not going to change them now if he hasn't after all these years of knowing I am gay. I am here to support you and my friends who remain in Indiana. They are my extended family.
Chris received many supportive comments on his post from allies as well as from LGBT folk, including those who sympathize with having unsupportive family members.
"LOOK at all of this love!" Chris added after responses came pouring in. "This is what a love revolution looks like. I know it's easy to get negative, especially when we have to fight for what is right, but focus on love, family, and peace and we can't lose."
Such positive reactions and viral attention to Chris' simple post remind us that, while a disconnect between legal protections and public opinion may continue to exist, there is always a supportive network to be found—even in unexpected places.
The Advocate reported that the father and son are close and love each other, despite a relationship that has long been rocky but is continuously evolving. Chris remains certain, however, that his father's vote on this matter of LGBT equality will not waver.
If the bill is approved by the House, the State Senate, and then by voters in November, couples who are LGBT will be banned from getting married and having civil unions. While the state currently does not have marriage equality, adding such an amendment to the constitution will create a greater barrier for loving LGBT couples.