I spoke this weekend with Chris Smith, he is the son of House Elections Committee Chairman Milo Smith which passed, 9-3, HJR-3, the amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana.. Chris is gay and took to Facebook to criticize the House Republicans’ actions.
On his Facebook page Chris wrote…
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, who lives in California, agreed to answer a few questions about why posted his comments in social media.
1. Why did you decide to go public and post your comments to Facebook?
I have a lot of friends in Indiana still, and I wanted them to know I have their back. They are my extended family. Many of them are legally married in other states but have returned to Indiana only to be treated as second-class citizens.
2. Does this undermine your relationship with your family, should you have kept your comments private?
I’m not a very private person, so I have no problems being public with my opinions. If anything undermines the relationship with my family, it’s their belief that I’m not an equal. One of my sisters has been completely supportive and we have a fantastic relationship.
3. What is your response that Hoosiers should have to right to vote on HJR-3, regardless of whether they support it or oppose it?
No one should have the right to vote on civil rights. Period. Marriage is a contractual issue and individuals have the basic right to contract without outside interference. Ideally, I’d prefer to see government get out of the marriage business altogether. No one should have to ask permission to get married, whether they are gay or straight.
4. Do you feel your comments undermine your Dad’s position on the issue?
I hope so. I believe he’s coming at it from strictly a religious perspective, which has no room in political discourse.
5. What has the reaction been to your post?
I’m overwhelmed by the support I’ve received. I’ve had dozens of new friend requests on Facebook and several private messages. I’ve read every single comment to my post on the Indiana Equality Facebook group and feel blessed by the outpouring of love and support. My partner has warned me against a possible backlash, but I haven’t seen it. I didn’t post in order to get all the feedback. I posted because I wanted everyone in Indiana to know I’m with them in this. Love and family will prevail.
6. Do you think there are a lot of Republican families in your position?
Well, I don’t know there are other political families in the same position, but I know a lot of families are, in general. I’ve read the comments about how parents disowned their gay children. I’m fortunate that my family didn’t disown me. I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I know I’m loved no matter my sexual orientation.
The Indiana House is scheduled to hear amendments Monday afternoon to HJR-3.