By Dawn Wolfe
December 17: A dark day for human rights in Michigan
LANSING – December 17 will be a sad day for all fair-minded Michigan citizens. That is the day that the anti-family Proposal 2 will be officially added to our state’s constitution, banning equal marriage rights and threatening basic economic rights for LGBT families.
An event in Lansing will take place that day to allow people to mourn this defacement of our state’s governing document, mark the success we have achieved to date, and prepare to move forward to defend all of our rights – marriage, economic, civil, human.
‘Bringing Light to Darkness: Looking Forward’ in Lansing
This event, organized by Michigan Equality, will be held on the steps of our state’s Capitol in Lansing from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Michigan Equality will supply candles for the vigil, and has recruited a large group of volunteers to stand around the perimeter of the vigil to “keep the darkness out” so that vigil-keepers may participate unhindered.
Confirmed speakers include Chris Swope of Michigan Equality; the Triangle Foundation’s Jeffrey Montgomery; Nathan Triplett, a board member of Michigan Equality, the National Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Michigan State University Democrats; WRAP board member and GLSEN activist Dave Garcia; Dr. Melanie Morrison of the Leaven Center; and Michelle Brown, a member of the national board of HRC. Sharon Riveria, a UAW Local president and Pride at Work activist, is tentatively scheduled to appear and speak.
LGBT groups from Midland, northern Michigan, Detroit and Ann Arbor are making plans to attend.
According to Penny Gardner, Michigan Equality’s program director, the event is an opportunity to mourn. “But it’s also [a chance] to make note of the 1,904,319 people who voted against discrimination.”
Swope, Michigan Equality’s executive director, said, “It’s really an opportunity to do some healing and some closure on the whole campaign, and prepare ourselves to move forward.”
Swope noted that our community’s fight for human rights has several fronts. “We have a lot of other issues in addition to marriage – we need basic civil rights protection, we need to get second-parent adoption rights … the list goes on.”
He also stressed that we are not powerless to affect change. “There are things our community can do, even with this horrible amendment. We need to focus on what we can do and look forward.”
For more information call Michigan Equality at 800-858-9107.