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Sept. 22: A discussion of “Liberty, Equality, and LGBT Rights”

Ellen Anderson and Gary Welsh lead a Constitution Cafe discussion of the rights and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people as part of "My Daily Constitution"

When: Friday September 22, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Where: Outward Bound Books 625 North Street Indianapolis 46202 (317) 951-9100

What do “liberty” and “equality” mean in Indiana and the United States today? Do these words include LGBT people and our/their experiences? This discussion will use the real-life legal experiences of LGBT people in matters ranging from marriage to adoption to employment to explore how they/we "fit" into the Constitution.

One facillitator of the discussion will be Gary Welsh, a practicing Indianapolis attorney, and founder and editor of the blog site Advance Indiana. A native of Illinois, he was very active in Illinois Republican politics before moving to Indiana in 1990. After graduating from law school he lobbied various business clients before the Indiana General Assembly from 1993 to 1998 while working for a major Indianapolis law firm. He served as General Counsel for Novanis, an information technology company, from 1998 to 2002. He is a 1993 graduate of IU School of Law-Indianapolis and a 1984 graduate of Eastern Illinois University.

Another discussion facillitator will be Ellen Andersen, an IndyBuzz colleague in the department of political science at IUPUI. Ellen is author of Out of the Closets and into the Courts: Legal Opportunity Structure and Gay Rights Litigation, which explores the complex relationship between litigation and social change in the context of the gay rights movement. She has also written a series of articles with M. Kent Jennings on the impact of AIDS on political activism. She is currently developing a survey of the same-sex couples who received marriage licenses in San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Massachusetts during 2004. Because she works on hot button social issues, Professor Andersen is increasingly asked to comment on current events. She has testified about same-sex marriage on several occasions before the Indiana Legislature and is regularly asked to speak to community groups about marriage and other gay rights issues. She has been quoted in media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and the Associated Press.

For more information ...

Before the event, check out breaking national news about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered news from Yahoo. Want to know what Hoosiers think about gay and lesbian individuals' rights? You might be surprised: we may not be San Francisco but we do believe in toleration and fairness. Of course this doesn't stop Indiana legislators from proposing some screwy legislation; but Indiana judges differ.

After the event you might want to learn more by going on the web. You can track the issue of gay marriage in Indiana here. Want to get involved in these issues? If you think gays in Indiana should be treated equally, Indiana Equality could be for you. If you think they shouldn't be treated equally, you might be happy with the Indiana Family Institute. (For IndyBuzz's view of these two groups, check here.)

About the venue: The Out Word Bound bookstore, located in downtown Indianapolis, specializes in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered books. Out Word Bound offers greeting cards, CDs, magazines, calendars, and gifts in addition to poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and other kinds of LGBT literature. Book signings, poetry jams, book discussion groups, writers’ groups and other events are held at Out Word Bound.

If you like this event ...

Several other MDC events examine groups that have been excluded or marginalized and are now struggling for equality. Pierre Atlas and Charlie Wiles help discuss a sense of shared identity for an American citizenry that is becoming more diverse every day; María Pabón López and Teo Cain wrestle with a different issue of the constitutional rights of those who aren't citizens; and Rod Bohannan and Amos Brown talk about groups that have for decades been shunted from political access. The differences between these groups highlight important challenges of each ... and may indicate that building alliances will not be easy.

To return to the IndyBuzz schedule of My Daily Constitution events, click here.

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