Sen. Eckerty Gets to Reload Against Indiana Youth Group

Remember back in March of this year when Indiana Senator, Doug Eckerty from Yorktown, signed a letter with 19 other Indiana Senators (cowardly by signing their names but not printing their names) attacking the Indiana Youth Group (IYG) by demanding that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles cause for the “immediate termination of the groups speciality license plate.”

The Indiana Youth Group (IYG) provides safe places and confidential environments where self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth are empowered through programs, support services, social and leadership opportunities and community service. IYG advocates on their behalf in schools, in the community and through family support services.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) today appointed State Sen. Doug Eckerty (R-Yorktown) as Co-Chairman of the Interim Study Committee (ISC) on Special Group Recognition License Plates.

According to the press release, “The Specialty License Plate Committee will examine the policies and procedures for issuing special group recognition license plates in Indiana,” Eckerty said. “The process came under scrutiny earlier this spring, and the General Assembly promised to look into the matter over the summer. We will begin that process in the next few weeks.”

“Came under scrutiny”?

The republican senators met behind closed doors, held no hearing, offered no interviews, asked for no investigation, and presented no appeals process. The senators singled out IYG and directed the BMV to terminate their access to fundraising which is done my many other non-profit groups in the state.

How does this follow the democratic process laid out by our state and federal constitutions?

After the letter was received by BMV, they interpreted this as “selling” the low-numbered plates even though the week before their own Communications Director told the press that using the speciality plates as thank you gifts is common practice in Indiana. According to the IYG, the Communications Director was fired the next day. IYG’s access to fundraising was denied.

Based on a recent update by IYG, ACLU lawyers are now in an “exploratory” period and getting dispositions from other organizations with the plate to show that it is common practice to use the low numbered plates as thank you gifts for donations.

With this information, if the administrative hearing judge upholds the revocation of our plate, we will know whether there is enough evidence to go to federal court.

Abusing their power has become common place for the republicans who were recently elected to our state legislature. We’ve seen one case after another of bullying and on this is yet one more example where the republican party is using their power to quash the rights of workers, women, and groups they morally reject.

According to Thomas Jefferson:

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

In Indiana, has it become common practice to place the oppressor on the committee to decide whether he is oppressing the rights of others?

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) should be ashamed for appointing Eckerty to a committee reviewing his original cowardice act. Based on prior actions during the campaign, and once in office, Senator Doug Eckerty continues to fail our community with his acts of deception and cowardice.

Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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