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 versus conservative box. Even when Governor 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,” “genderqueer,” “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 Like Girls” and “Guys Who Like Guys,” “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.

This is a relevant concern when you realize, that according to the BMV web site, $25 raised from each specialty plate goes to bringing this “anything goes” sexual ethic into schools across the state.  Imagine the public outcry if the Choose Life plate had used even a penny of its funds to set up “Teens for Life” clubs in schools, or if the “In God We Trust” plate had raised funds to set up Bible clubs in schools?   It is safe to say that neither plate would ever have been sanctioned.

It has been said that you become a part of what you condone. The state of Indiana should never have become a part of the Indiana Youth Group.   Unfortunately, too few elected leaders took the time to look past the hysteria into what the organization actually does and intends to continue to market to children with specialty plate funds.

Micah Clark is the Executive Director of the American Family Association of Indiana