Home Political News Commentary: Amendment opponent’s actions warranted getting tossed

Commentary: Amendment opponent’s actions warranted getting tossed


John Sittler is a reporter at TheStatehouseFile.com


Commentary button in JPG - no shadowI’ve heard that word thrown around a lot lately as the General Assembly continues its debate of the controversial constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana.

Almost every time I’ve heard the word, the context has been that conservatives don’t respect the views of gay rights supporters.

But I seem to remember learning in elementary school: You have to give respect to get it.

House Joint Resolution 3 has had two hearings, before two different committees, both held in the House chamber.

Both times, one member of the public was ejected by the chairman of the committee.

Once, it was a woman who was obnoxiously yelling and clapping after a man testified in support of the amendment.

More recently – and far more newsworthy – an Air Force veteran was expelled after giving Elections Committee Chairman Milo Smith, R-Columbus, a double thumbs down gesture.

 Opponents of HJR 3 exploded across social media, condemning the expulsion and turning Scott Spychala into a martyr.

But let’s think about what actually happened and why he was removed from the public gallery.

Before both hearings, the committee chairman acknowledged the sensitive and emotional nature of the debate and asked for respect from both sides.

During the first hearing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, had to ask for quiet and respect multiple times after Freedom Indiana supporters in the gallery were laughing and making other noises after people testified in support of HJR 3.

Last Wednesday, Freedom Indiana supporters again filled the public gallery and had taken to giving a double thumbs down gesture, often while standing, during the testimony of anyone in favor of the amendment. Finally, Smith stopped someone mid-testimony and asked for respect. He said he didn’t think the thumbs down sign was respectful.

As Smith said that, Spychala looked straight at the chairman and gave him a double thumbs down.

Is the gesture itself bad enough to deserve being kicked out of a public hearing?


Should Spychala have been expelled?


Lost in the public backlash was the true reason behind his expulsion. In committee meetings, the chair is more or less all powerful. He or she sets the rules, within reason.

Smith asked for no thumbs down gestures.

Spychala looked at him and gave a thumbs down.

Smith kicked him out. Seems pretty logical to me.

Maybe Spychala was trying to make a statement. And there is certainly something to be said for that. History is filled with people who faced consequences (often much worse than Spychala’s) for standing up for what they believe in.

But that doesn’t mean Smith was in the wrong.

Throughout my coverage of this debate, I’ve done my best to be impartial, to be a quiet observer. In fact, I haven’t even made up my mind as to how I would vote if HJR 3 makes it to the ballot in November.

But there’s one thing I have learned. The debate isn’t good for anyone without respect.

For everyone.

From everyone.

John Sittler is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.


    • Amending the onstitution is the legislatures job. Which job creating bill is being ignored while this committee works on the amendment?

      • There isn’t one Ghost is being his usual leftist self and trying to create chaos where there is none presently. Either that or his talking point recall mechanism is stuck.

  1. Contrary to what you learned in elementary school, respect is EARNED through actions, deeds, and the words you speak, not given on a whim, respect given does not guarantee it will be received in return nor should it.

    In our PC culture folks believe that respect is a right that should be automatically given until you prove yourself unworthy and it is removed, it isn’t and has never worked that way. People who command that they should be respected will never achieve respect nor do they deserve it.


      • Except they scream bigot instead of birther and it’s not disrespectful to ask a president to produce the required proof to occupy his office. Obama has come a long way from his rich grandmother’s bank to become president.

        • AhHah! Another someone who cannot be convinced no matter what.

          That’s called hardheaded.

          I wonder why I never realized that about you before?

          • So not true. I’m convinced he is president, but its not unreasonable to have asked for the proof. What I wonder is why the delay in providing it? Was it a political strategy, or was the printer broken?

            In short, I’m not a birther, but I don’t buy the history he has created for himself with memoirs before he did anything noteworthy either no matter what his “Dreams from My (absentee) Father” might have been. He was born, likely in Hawaii, but pretty well everything else is just a carefully crafted illusion, except the cocaine. Yeah, he did that. Won the Nobel prize for it. It was either for that or being the most unqualified man to ever become president.

            • President Obama is simply a canvas on which the liberal ideals were painted. He is and has always been a chameleon shifting his opinions to conform to the crowd. There is nothing real about this man. There never has been. He is incapable of original thought adopting other people’s vision as his own from healthcare to raising the minimum wage. His real problem is that he can’t do anything. He is nothing but a silver tongued devil who seduced the entitlement class of America. He is the alpha narcissist.

  2. The people who brought this discriminatory amendment deserve no respect. They are excercising their bigotry in full view, and are proud of it. They don’t even have to acknowledge each other with a wink and nod anymore (although many retain and excercise the right to wink). They have that glow on that negates the need for any secret handshake. It is not a halo, their God wouldn’t know them.

    So far they are getting about what they deserve, cheers from the knuckledraggers. They mindlessly flog appeal to process, hoping folks close their eyes to the nauseous substance of the amendment. It has been jerked from a committee that wasn’t sending it to the floor for a vote, pre-amended and ‘companion-billed’. It still might have to be rewritten and the divisive process started all over.

    Those who care about our state, companies like Cummins and Eli Lilly, most of our universities and several municipalities are against this poorly conceived legislation. It is an attempt to enshrine one of the most odious parts of the Bible into the Indiana constitution. The voters of Indiana should follow the lead of these job creators and turn a deaf ear to the bronze agers to who voting suddenly seems very important. This in a state that has eagerly signed on to the most currently popular disenfranchisement schemes. A state with a voter ID law like that now being struck down in other states.

    Sittler will learn all ideas, like people, don’t automatically deserve respect. When attempts are made by tyrannical legislative majorities to force their beliefs on others a little rowdiness is in order.

    • Right on cue. Here comes the name calling from the “tolerant” people of the left. And for the daily double we get the victim card thrown out on the table too.

  3. I just hope that members of the Indiana General Assembly show their RESPECT for the Hoosier voters who sent them there by not denying those voters a chance to voice their concerns at the ballot box.

    Any politician who votes to restrict or deny voters from making their wishes known should be booted out of office immediately.

    Thousands of years of historical records testify that marriage between a man and a woman, and the children they produce, are the backbone of successful societies.

    When societies stray from this truth the downward spiral begins. A society that can not replace itself will not survive.


    • “A society that can not replace itself will not survive.”

      Huh? Do you think everybody in Indiana will “turn gay” as a result of the amendment failing? You do realize that plenty of same-sex couples reproduce, don’t you?
      If replicating is the point of marriage, then you should be out to get legislation passed to stop sterile individuals and couples in which the woman is post-menopausal from being allowed to marry here.
      I’ve heard some strange things said about this subject, but this is one of the strangest.

      • ” You do realize that plenty of same-sex couples reproduce, don’t you?” (elkaybee)

        * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        That would be some trick. As of yet it has not been accomplished by “same sex” couples.


      • “You do realize that plenty of same-sex couples reproduce, don’t you?”

        WOW! I missed that. LKB, a little about the birds and the bees. When a man and a woman love each other very very much…

        Next thing you will be saying that a child can have more than one paternal mother or father.

          • Yes, they take a MALE’S sperm and impregnate a FEMALE’S egg.

            I am sure they have some books in the young adult section that will help you figure out that only one male and one female can create a new human life.

          • For someone who slept through the birds and the bees story in school, it would be the wife in a gay couple.

          • Your ignorance is showing. In male same-sex couples, both partners are “husbands” or “spouses”. Female same-sex married couples are both “wives” or “spouses.”
            You need to learn the language of a world that has marriage equality.

          • LKB, I’m not ignorant enough to think two males or two females are the same as a male and female.

            And no, I do not need to learn the language.

          • EKB, you can call them what you want and even makes things up but try to be honest. You claim to be a mental health specialist, if this is true then you well know that gay couples assume hetrosexual roles and mimic them in their relationship. You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out which role each assumes. You don’t have to go through some great scientific test to figure this out, simple observation will do. Just be done with this, let them get married.

          • @ pov – out of order d/t format:

            First and foremost, homosexuality is NOT a mental illness. It was taken out of the DSM a long time ago. The bigotry and hate surrounding it sometimes causes a mental health issue, but in an of itself, it is not a mental health issue.
            Secondly, gay couples do not always assume the roles of “woman” and “man”, so no, I do not know what you falsely contend to be fact.

    • This is a Republic, not a Democracy. The lawmakers should be able to strike this down on the basis that it will not survive a constitutional challenge, it is clearly discriminatory, and it assumes the state should have a say in what is and what isn’t a valid religious rite.

      • This issue is not a republic vs democracy issue.

        We are a “constitutional” republic. Our constitution grants us the right to vote on amendments. The courts decide constitutionality.

        We can’t be constitutionalist only when it favors our views.

          • LKB, have you misplaced your bi-focals again? I’ve been pretty clear about my opinion.

          • OK LKB, I just read the news about the sentence being removed from HJR3. Are you implying that HJR3 was my favorite amendment?

            If so, you really don’t pay attention to what others say do you? Go back to something you’re qualified to handle like checking my spelling.

          • I should have said your favorite subject for ridiculous “jaw-boning”. I stand corrected!

  4. Press,
    This is not thousands of years ago and we certainly have no detailed, accurate records to show exactly how life was then. We only have enough to show that most people I know would not want to go back and live during times of famine, diseases killing off whole families of children, and primitive health care.

    Many studies have shown that children raised by two loving parents be they straight or gay are more likely to do well in life.

    If you are trying to tell me that there were no homosexuals thousands of years ago, sorry but you are wrong and there are just about the same percentage of them in society then as there are now. They were just closeted or treated very badly. And to treat another human being with no respect or equality is not acceptable.

    To your last point, societies today have no problem replacing themselves. To the contrary the world population is growing to the point of quickly endangering the capacity of the earth to sustain it. I would much rather see equality for all, less population growth, less hormones in meat, less pesticides on crops to grow more for large population, less war for territory to expand the population, and more peace in the world.

    Press, gay marriage should not be a big deal to you. You seem like the type of person who wants what is right for everyone and isn’t equality for all the right thing?

  5. Speaker Brian Bosma, faced with the possibility that HJR-3 might die in the House Judiciary Committee, moved the bill to the House Elections Committee and made sure that it was heard and brought to a vote within 24 hours to get his way. Now that shows some real RESPECT for the legislative process, doesn’t it?

    • Yes it does. That is a legal process. So how did you feel when the democrats ran off with the constitution to Urbana?

      By the way, to which state are you moving? Be careful because the majority of states have a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

  6. History repeats itself. Time and again.

    The same arguments against same-sex marriage are the same as those against interracial marriage and inter-faith marriage…”the blacks want special rights”…”jews and christians marrying is an attack on the rite of traditional marriage”….”it’s against divine law”….

    …Alas, there will always be bigots among us.

    Same-sex marriage is coming to Indiana law.

    The State legislature process is underway mopping up Indiana law to fall under the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

    It’s coming exactly like interracial marriage and inter-faith marriage came. Even the Supreme Court agrees that bigots will not rule the day on this.

    • Ah more tolerance coming in from the left. It’s our way or else we raise a fuss. and call people names and dry victim all over the place. WHen in reality no one is trying to stop “gay” folk from being couples, they are trying to keep them from co-opting the religious term and meaning of marriage. But Mr. Weinz (is it pronounced like whines?), doesn’t want to hear anything about what is really going on, he wants to throw out talking points, it makes him feel better.

      • In fact, I am quoting the US Constitution and the US Supreme Court.

        You, on the other hand, are preposterously attempting to invert this…, I need only cite one: “religious term” arguments have nothing to do with legality.

        I send money to CrossroadsGPS to get rid of Tea Party miscreants like you…and its working.

  7. I hope people realize when throwing the word “bigot” around they are referring to people of all races, genders and party identification. I will also add that comparing this to the Civil rights movement is a disservice to everything the African American community worked for many years ago. No, I don’t care who gets “married” but just pointing out that each side sometimes seems equally idiotic.

    • This is EXACTLY the same as the bigots who tried to keep State bans on interracial marriage in place. It took the Supreme Court in 1967 to beat it back because some States would NOT vote to eliminate the ban. You cannot vote to seize and ban a citizen’s equal access to the law.

      That fact does nothing to detract from the Africa American Civil Rights movements of the mid-century. Quite the opposite. It celebrates it.

      • Homosexuality is not a race.

        Blacks were being denied equal access. Nothing is being denied homosexuals unless you think they must have state certification of their love.

        Linking homosexual marriage to civil rights is a marketing strategy spelled out in the book After the Ball just like calling anyone who has different opinion a bigot is spelled out in you.

        Singling out homosexuals for access while denying it to other non traditional relationships or penalizing those who do not seek state certification is the true inequality and a finger in the eye of every other person.

        It is the narrow minded “my way or the highway,’ mean spirited name calling, lies, and vicious attacks from people like you that keeps us from finding better solutions that will work for all. Yes, you are part of the problem not the solution.

        I don’t care what you and your boy friend do in your bedroom, but why does the state have to license it?

        Now go march around with your screaming bigot sign and throw your verbal stink bombs at anyone who would dare disagree with Weinz.

        • Nothing is being denied? How flocking delusional are you?

          You lie with the ease of a sociopath.

          They’re denied federal and state health benefits, spousal social security and veterans benefits, the ability to file a joint tax return, the ability to adopt children as a married couple, spousal bankruptcy protections, inheritance and beneficiary rights, marital rights in contracts like life insurance and annuities, parental rights and vistitation rights. It goes on and on and on and on.

          Yes you are most certainly a bigot and ugly blind one at that.

          • Better than I could have said it.

            I-E, It’s not about race either (but you know that…since you’re losing the argument, you say that to distract from the real issue….quite common of you of late….and a clear sign and last gasp you’ve lost on the merits), it IS about equal protection rights under the law…including marriage law.

            Your pride has turned you into something under-worldly.

            I-E. I will not stop pointing out the absolute bigotry inherent in your argument. Because it is bigoted.

          • No, you are lying like a sociopath.

            They are not denied health benefits, social security benefits or any other benefits. Like everyone else, a homosexual does not not qualify for another man’s health benefits, social security, or veterans benefits.

            What you want to do is give them access to another person of the same sex benefits while denying it to others who choose not to marry or would not qualify under your definition of marriage. So you’re the real bigot.

            An hater calling me a bigot because he can’t stand that I would dare think differently makes you narrow minded but does not make me a bigot.

          • @Weinz,

            “Better than I could have said it.”

            Of course you couldn’t. All you can do is squawk bigot and equal protection.

            Why don’t you try to engage me like the adult you are and tell me why you prefer special rights to homosexuals rather than domestic partnerships for all?

          • I get it I-E. Hate doesn’t follow a logical path nor argument. I can’t expect you to make sense (which you do not).

            (and hate and bigotry ARE the right words for you)

            You’re choosing to be helpless.

          • @Weinz

            “Your pride has turned you into something under-worldly.”

            Beautiful Weinz. You know that I have never said do not believe, and would never tell a person they were going to hell because they are gay, but you tell me I am “under-wordly.” You judgmental putz.

          • @Weinz
            “You’re choosing to be helpless.”

            No. I’m choosing to be informed and think rather than be a hater who shouts pejoratives at anyone who dares to not think like him.

            Why do you want to deny domestic partnerships to all?

          • You also Brains, why are you so set on same sex marriage for a few when domestic partnerships would provide your so called rights for all?

            I’m not a bigot, I’m one of the few with his eyes wide open. You have to call me a bigot becausee your eyes are almost as closed as you mind

          • I-E….the good news is that the succeeding generations to us get it, plainly and clearly.

            I have children and grandchildren who can’t imagine the disgusting abhorrent advocacy you propose. The entire younger generations in the US are overwhelmingly dismissive of such trash. They dismiss it for what it is: bigotry.

  8. “You cannot vote to seize and ban a citizen’s equal access to the law.”

    Thank you for that clear statement for those who keep insisting that everyone in Indiana must vote on this amendment. The majority cannot vote to take away citizen’s right to equal treatment under the law. So as I said before, let’s enjoy the sanity now, and then let the idea and any future amendment attempts evaporate.

    • No one is being denied equal access to a law but not everyone qualifies for what the law provides. I don’t qualify for food stamps, handicapped parking, social security, or to use the lady’s rest room.

      But everyone over 18 in Indiana has a right to vote on the constitution we all live by. That is the only thing being denied. When we lose our constitutional rule and it is replaced by court mandates we lose the rule of law.

      There are better ways to resolve this issue than court mandated shot gun marriage, but we will not find the best solution apart from the rule of law.

    • Why, thank you. Thank you very much. (Elvis is leaving the building now! You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!)

      I’m gonna have a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich…and toast a glass of milk to the dying breed of bigots in the country.

      There are pretenders, and there will be contenders, but there is only one King. And that’s Elvis. (I think Bruce Springsteen said that, and I just like it.)

      Ok…I’m putting down the coffee.

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