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In 2004 when voters passed the so-called Michigan Marriage Amendment I had been “married” for a little over a year. My wife and I had a wedding on the eve of our 6 year anniversary. We both wore white dresses. Each of our six bridesmaids wore a dress corresponding to the colors of the rainbow. Because, you know, gay.
Some people close to us urged us not to call it a “wedding.” They were more comfortable with “commitment ceremony.” Because, after all, it wasn’t like we were really getting married.
Except we were. Granted we knew full well that our marriage wouldn’t be legally recognized in Michigan or, for that matter, in the entire United States. But when I slipped that ring on my wife’s finger and promised in front of my friends and family that I would love her forever, I meant it. I meant it so much that I cried really hard and embarrassed myself. Still, I wasn’t “pretending” to get married. As far as my wife and I were concerned, this was it.
So it was especially shitty when nearly 60% of folks going to the polls voted against my right to be legally married. Not to mention the fact that George W. Bush got elected again.
Michigan’s Democratic leaders were largely silent on the amendment. Gov. Jennifer Granholm tepidly rejected it late in the game. Most said nothing. They were too chicken shit.
But a lot has changed in 10 years. The Democratic Party is a vocal supporter of equal rights. Anti-gay marriage amendments have been falling like dominoes to legal challenges. More states have legalized marriage equality. And when my wife and I went to California last summer we made our “marriage” into a marriage at the San Diego courthouse. Attending that wedding was our 4-year-old son.
Our son is a really lucky kid. He’s got two parents who love him and each other. But because Michigan doesn’t recognize our marriage, he only has one legal parent. Which also feels pretty shitty.
So far Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has spent tens of thousands of tax payer dollars to defend the law that kept my son from having two legal parents and he based that defense on the very premise that gays and lesbians were bad moms and dads.
And he lost. Badly. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman didn’t just strike the law down, he smacked it down saying it “impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest.”
But that doesn’t mean anything to Schuette who is hot to appeal the ruling; to keep fighting against Michigan families like mine.
He’s also running for reelection in Nov. Running against him is Democrat Mark Totten who said of the ruling, “There was never a doubt that Schuette’s crusade to deny a loving home to some of Michigan’s most vulnerable children was morally repugnant. Today, the courts confirmed it was also unconstitutional. Children should never be sacrificed to score political points.”
My son, my wife, and I deserve to have someone like Totten defending us. Not someone like Schuette trying to hurt us.
Schuette claims that he is a defender of the Constitution. But really he’s an ideological hack, whether it’s fighting against marriage equality, contraceptive access for women, or Obamacare. If you’re a rich conservative, Schuette is your man. Because he doesn’t give a shit about anyone else.
Learn more about Totten at http://www.marktotten.com. Let’s fire Schuette in November.