Editorial: Friends in high places

By |2018-01-15T22:37:36-05:00September 22nd, 2005|Uncategorized|

Governor Jennifer Granholm attended the Triangle Foundation’s Annual Dinner Event Sunday, Sept. 18. She told the crowd of over 400 people that her vision of the government’s role in the citizenry’s lives is to protect the frail and elderly, and provide services that encourage a healthy society. She said that the government should not be involved in the bedroom or the doctor’s office, and that government has no place in deciding whom someone ought to love.
It was encouraging and inspiring to hear her speak so directly to issues that are important to the LGBT community.
Granholm was joined at the Triangle event by over 40 elected officials at all levels of state and local government. She also was an honorary co-chair of this past weekend’s AIDS Walk Detroit, along with U.S. Senator Carl Levin and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.
Is it campaign season yet?
We are delighted that Gov. Granholm and so many other elected officials understand the power of the gay vote, and that they are willing to attend events, lend their names to charity functions and speak out in favor of LGBT equality. In 2006, we intend to support Gov. Granholm, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and other fair-minded politicians in their campaigns for public office.
However, we must also hold them accountable once they are in office. In 2004, we lost a crucial fight against Proposal 2, the anti-marriage constitutional amendment. Many of our elected friends helped behind the scenes, but few sitting officials or candidates for office were willing to speak out forcefully, publicly against the amendment. We learned through that tough experience that it is important to have friends – especially friends in high places – but that sometimes we can be disappointed when our friends don’t step up when we need them the most.
As the campaign season heats up over the next year, we will certainly remember and appreciate the public appearances of our elected officials. We know they have impossibly busy schedules and it is a strong statement for them to commit an evening to an LGBT event. We will also watch and listen to what they say when they are not at the podium during a charity event. We will pay attention to whether they are willing to spend their political capital for our equal rights, and we will not tolerate it if an elected official takes our community for granted.
In her keynote address at the Triangle event, Dr. Mary Frances Berry encouraged people to find something to do that makes a difference. She said that if everyone else is doing something, why do we need you to do it too? Go out and find something that’s new – show some leadership. She said it is important to remain politically independent, so that no elected officials get complacent about your vote. That is sound advice.
We are encouraged that Gov. Granholm, Sen. Stabenow, Sen. Levin, many in Michigan’s U.S. Congressional delegation, and many state and local officials – Democrats and Republicans – understand the importance of the LGBT community, and not just at election time. We need to keep in touch with our elected representatives through letters, phone calls and emails, so they don’t forget about us and so our issues remain in the forefront of the political dialogue.

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 27th anniversary.