The community reacts to marriage equality in New York

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-16T17:15:36-04:00 June 30th, 2011|News|

“Winning the freedom to marry in New York truly is a transformative moment for committed couples and for our country, a triumph for love and equality under the law. Now that we’ve made it here, we’ll make it everywhere – and as Americans’ hearts open and minds continue to change in favor of the freedom to marry, the momentum coming from New York’s giant step forward brings a nationwide end to marriage discrimination closer than ever.”
-Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry

“Michiganders should take time to celebrate this victory for the LGBTQ community and rejoice in the progressive stance some parts of the country are moving in. At the same time, however, we must be conscious and outraged at the attacks confronting our community here at home. In the same week as the historic legislation was passed in New York, LGBTQ Michigander’s rights have been taken away by our own state legislators. Two anti-gay, homophobic bills passed through committee in the Republican-controlled Michigan Congress this past week, one banning public employers from offering partner benefits to unmarried couples, and another stripping unions from having the authority to bargain for these same benefits.
“Additionally, a couple of weeks ago the City Council of Holland, Mich. voted 5-4 against extending civil rights protections in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity for both housing and employment. As our state struggles with financial instability, continued high unemployment, and losing college graduates at a record pace to neighboring states, you would think our elected officials have more important issues to address than to strip the few rights LGBTQ people have in Michigan.”
-Duane Breijak, vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party’s LGBT & Allies Caucus

“Committed gay and lesbian couples living in our nation’s third largest state will finally have the freedom to marry in their home state. Respect and security for their love, commitment, and families is what this victory is really all about. A rare coalition of leaders from all walks of life fought together to make this happen.
“This win shows that Americans are ready, more than ever, to treat gay and lesbian couples with full equality. Unfortunately, right-wing forces worked hard to deny this opportunity in Michigan. We hope for the day that gay and lesbian couples achieve the freedom to marry in our own state. It will make our state more welcoming and competitive while honoring our commitment to fairness. While we’re very happy for New Yorkers, we must recognize that Michigan’s lack of policy addressing discrimination, hate crimes and bullying has a devastating impact on many gay and transgender citizens.”
-Denise Brogan-Kator, interim executive director of Equality Michigan

“It’s a resounding victory for justice. This vote means that every man and woman will be treated equally in the county clerks’ offices, the courts, and the administrative agencies of the state of New York. It means that every single New Yorker will have access to the full rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license.
“At our founding, what made America different from every other country that existed before was a commitment to an ideal that had never been advanced – that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our history as a nation has been one of striving to make those words ever more true. Today, our state rose to the challenge, and New York, once again, has carried on this great American tradition.
“My deepest thanks and congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this happen: Governor Cuomo, the Legislature, Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and the thousands of other advocates. We have made history.”
-New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

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.