Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 20, 2012

Clark: Hoosiers do care, governor

State shouldn’t be involved with Indiana Youth Group

When many people hear of an issue concerning homosexuality, they automatically draw conclusions before looking at the bigger picture. The controversy over the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (BMV) issuance of a specialty license plate, which raises funds for the Indiana Youth Group (IYG), is no different. It seemed doomed to be pushed into a liberal-vs.-conservative box. Even when Gov. Mitch Daniels was asked about his agency’s approval of the controversial plate, his response was, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

State-approved messages children receive should be a concern to every legislator, the governor and every Hoosier. The Indiana Youth Group is characterized as a homosexual organization, but many of its Web and printed materials indicate that the IYG is a place for any sexual orientation: “straight,” “homosexual,” “bisexual,” “lesbian,” “polysexual,” “pansexual,” “transgender,” “transvestite,” “transsexual,” “questioning,” and other categories of which many readers may have never heard.

Problems with the IYG escalate when you realize that this is an organization which promotes sexual activity among children as young as 12 years old up to the age of 21. Placing 20-year-olds and children under the age of sexual consent in settings regularly advertised on the IYG calendar should concern all responsible Hoosiers.

Some legislators who were courageous enough to question this plate had seen the IYG calendar of events over the last year showing monthly meetings for children titled: “Condoms Are Cool and Dental Dams are Dandy,” or “Rubber Gloves and Dental Dams,” or “Groups for Girls Who Love Girls” and “Boys Who Love Boys,” “Love Holds No Gender,” “Free STD/HIV testing” and meetings to “remove the stigma of being bisexual, pansexual, polysexual or questioning and finding love and caring for each other.”

Should the state really be a part of funding groups in which 12- through 20-year-olds are shown how to use latex devices for sexual behaviors and how to remove the stigma and perceived risk of doing so? Indiana statutes and educational polices have guidelines for sex education and sexual conduct. The Indiana Youth Group operates way outside of those guidelines.

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