David Hoppe

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:: Marriage promotion?


by David Hoppe

My son was married last May in North Carolina. It was a joyous event, bringing family members and friends together from across the country. The dancing, I have to say, was mind-blowing.

But this was just one of five weddings my wife and I attended over the course of the past year or so.  There was one in New Mexico, another in Philadelphia. Two took place in Indianapolis.

Marriage, it seemed, was busting out all over. And, for the most part, this was before our gay friends had a chance to get into the act.

You’d think the last thing we need now would be a government Office of Marriage Promotion.

That’s what a bill (HB 1482) being floated in this year’s General Assembly aims to do. It’s the brainchild of Rep. Jeff Thompson, a Republican from Lizton. It seems Rep. Thompson is concerned about the number of babies being born to unwed mothers — not in Lizton, mind you — but in other parts of the state.

“Look at the example of what’s happening in this city and the number of shootings,” Rep Thompson was quoted as saying in the Star. “It doesn’t occur in my community…But there are regions and pockets where marriage is not the norm.”

While it’s gracious of Rep. Thompson to show concern for big city trials and tribulations, his idea for trying to deal with them seems (forgive the expression) out of left field.

Rep. Thompson is, after all, a Republican lawmaker, a member of the Scarlet Tsunami in which our state government is currently awash. As such, it is probably not going out on a limb to say that he would doubtless characterize himself as a political conservative.

In a long legislative career, during which he has been elected and reelected again and again, Thompson has, although a teacher himself, worked to undermine teachers’ unions and opposed efforts by gay support groups to participate in the state’s promotional license plate program.

You might be forgiven, then, for guessing that, when it comes to government, Rep. Thompson would tend to side with those who claim that small is beautiful and less is more.

I mean, isn’t that what conservatism is about? That government should not do for others what they can do for themselves?

Something curious happens when politicians — of whatever stripe or handle they go by — find their faces in the trough of power, particularly when they enjoy super-majorities, as Republicans do now.  They get ideas, big ones.

And so, while Republicans may campaign to get government off peoples’ backs, once they get in power, they figure out ways to put it someplace else, like in peoples’ bedrooms. They just can’t help themselves.

They’ll cut regulations that protect our air and water, then, the next thing you know, they want to set up… an Office of Marriage Promotion.

Marriage, of course, is a fine thing. Having been married for almost 32 years, I heartily recommend it.  But the last thing Indiana needs now is an office to promote it.