Christopher Smith is the openly gay son of Indiana lawmaker Milo Smith. Although currently living in Culver City California, he kept up on his father involvement with the proposed amendment to the Indiana State Constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman and would also prohibit any recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. Chris spoke out against his father’s hurtful actions and began to post on social media. It was at that point Christopher realized he had become an LGBT advocate. In an op-ed, in The Advocate, Christopher tells his incredible story of courage and shares his devastation by his father’s vote against his own son’s equality.
My father has known I am gay for about 23 years. He’s had a lot of time to reflect and understand who I am. In that same time period, he’s become far more religious, currently serving as an elder for his church. His belief that marriage is between a man, a woman, and God has been shaped by his belief in the Bible.
Despite his belief that his own son doesn’t deserve equality under the law, we have grown closer over the years, closer than we were when I was growing up. We talk at holidays, birthdays, and periodic, spontaneous phone calls. My sexuality has really never been a topic of discussion, though. During one recent conversation, he mentioned maybe having a family vacation that included Ronnie, my partner of the last 13 years.
That seemed like progress to me.
Then HJR-3 blew up, my dad voted in favor of it, and I took a public stance. I live in California and can get married if I want. My partner and I have been registered domestic partners before Proposition 8 was even on the ballot here. That’s enough for me, even though Ronnie has asked — marriage has never really been one of my dreams. But I have many gay friends still in Indiana, and all along, I have been speaking out for them.
As of this writing, the future of HJR-3 is still in question. The constitutional amendment process is somewhat different in Indiana than in many states, making it difficult to make changes to the document. The House voted to strip out the language that would prohibit recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. That change could mean the death of the amendment altogether or it could lead to more political shenanigans that would put the proposed amendment on the ballot for voters to decide this fall.
To preach about love and family but to then vote against both is antithetical to Biblical teachings. I hope one day my dad and the other proponents of HJR-3 will finally realize that. Until then, we must continue to fight for what is right: equality under the law, for everyone.
Christopher Smith's courage and desire for justice and equality is admirable. To stand up to a parent for what you believe is right is hard enough, but when your father is State Representative Milo Smith and you stand up for that same justice publicly, must be incredibly difficult.
The Advocate has Christopher Smith's full op-ed.