By Jillian A. Bogater
Author, Detroit News columnist
Alan Ott Auditorium
Saginaw Valley State University
3400 Bay Road
Deb Price insists she’s not an activist.
But the award-winning Detroit News columnist and author wants to use her knowledge to inspire a wave of gay activism in hopes of repealing Michigan’s gay marriage ban.
Price will share her experiences and lead a brainstorming session to outline a 10-year plan to repeal Proposal 2, which was approved by voters 59-to-41 percent in 2004. She will speak at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Alan Ott Auditorium at Saginaw Valley State University.
The first five years of the plan should focus on a massive coming out project, Price said.
“We have to be out and out everywhere,” Price said. “We need to become mentors or buddies to other people who are not out, create coming out workshops that people can come to.”
Leading by example, Price will bring her wife of three years, Joyce Murdoch, to the event. The two married in 2003 in Toronto, Ontario.
“It’s mind-boggling to me how many people on the border of Canada say they want to get married but don’t because it’s not recognized in the state of Michigan,” Price said. “Precisely. Marriage has had a transformative effect on our relationship and on the ability we have to talk about marriage. We don’t talk about marriage as people who would like to marry. We are married people who are not treated the same way as other married people. We are heard very differently.”
Involving young voters is another aspect of the plan, Price said. This group of young people, called “Millennials” by demographers, are now entering voting booths and they are very friendly to gay rights, she said. As older generations of voters vote less, Price predicts the younger generation will change the conservative tide at the polls.
“In 10 years there is no doubt there will be a big change simply because of who will be going to the voting booth.”
Time is critical, and Price points to Alabama’s 33-year struggle to remove interracial marriage bans from its constitution as a chilling example of why the gay community must act now. The state was the last to remove the interracial marriage ban in 2000, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional in 1967.
“If people wait five years or 10 years to see positive changes, … then there’s been all this time lost when folks in Michigan could have been laying the groundwork and creating a plan to have Proposal 2 repealed,” she said.
Price will share innovative ideas – including television commercials, billboard and newspaper ads – used by other states to overcome anti-gay issues.
“This is going to be an historic night,” Price said, welcoming people from all over the state to join the discussion. “If you are angry about what happened in 2004, if you think it’s wrong, don’t be mad. Be part of a plan to change what happened.”