ACLU, Fair Michigan Majority create family-issues primer

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-15T21:49:32-04:00 May 2nd, 2003|Uncategorized|

By Dawn Wolfe

During most of the year that Proposal 2 loomed as only a potential threat over the heads of the LGBT community’s families, the ACLU’s LGBT Project was busy collecting personal stories.
The result is “Families Under Attack,” a new booklet by the ACLU of Michigan, which was paid for by funds from Fair Michigan Majority, the organization created to advocate for the rights of LGBT families.
“Families” explains, in clear and compelling language, why and how LGBT-headed families are hurt by laws that discriminate in favor of dual-gender families. The booklet isn’t for community members or allies who are already all too familiar with the uphill battle faced by LGBT families, but rather for members of the straight community who as yet are ignorant of the incredible uphill battles faced by same-gender-loving couples who try to commit to each other and to their children.
The ACLU plans to distribute the new publication, “to the general community, to put a human face on this issue and change public opinion,” according to Wendy Wagenheim, the ACLU of Michigan’s communications director.
“Families” does indeed show human faces. Under headings like “Daddy and Pappa,” “Still Married After 30 Years?” and “Lives in the Balance,” each family’s story is told briefly, accompanied by a family photo.
The booklet tells how elderly partners fear because, under federal rules, same-gender couples can’t live together in subsidized senior complexes. It shows partners who have had trouble visiting their spouses in the hospital, and children who have been put at risk because Michigan law refuses to acknowledge dual-parent adoption. It tells the story of one couple, married thirty years, whose marriage might be invalidated by the state of Michigan since one partner has transitioned from male to female. And, with each story, readers get the chance to look at the faces of the real families that are being hurt by these very real injustices.
In the second section of “Families,” members of families who have not chosen to share their pictures talk about the injustices they face in their own words, and the final page features resources that readers can use to learn more.
{ITAL “Dahlia: ‘When our second child was born, I was the birth-mother. The pediatrician on staff at the hospital would not tell my partner, who is also a physician, the condition of our newborn son. The pediatrician said, ‘I already told his real mother…'”
“Stacey: ‘My partner had an emergency appendectomy and I was not given time off work under the Family Medical Leave Act to assist with her care. I ended up taking two days off from work and getting written up for it as a result.'”
“John: ‘During Jerry’s last hospital stay, I was not kept informed about his condition/needs in spite of the Medical Power of Attorney I hold.'”
-From “Families Under Attack” by the ACLU of Michigan}

Distribution plan in the works

According to Wagenheim, ACLU staff will be meeting with members of Fair Michigan Majority this week to develop a distribution plan.
“More than anything, we’re looking for places where we can put these in bulk,” said Wagenheim. Corporations and churches are among the possible types of locations being considered.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.