Despite legal setback, fight for benefits will continue

By |2017-10-31T14:13:06-04:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Friday’s decision by Michigan’s Court of Appeals denying domestic partnership benefits to same-sex partners of public employees is an insult and a direct assault on LGBT families here in Michigan. It is infuriating, mean spirited and sends the message to the nation that Michigan is an unappealing place to live.
The lies spewed and reported in the press during the 2004 election by the American Family Association of Michigan and campaign officials seeking to ban same-sex marriage, have no punitive consequences for them except to encourage these bigots and liars to pursue similar discrimination in other states that have banned same-sex marriage with a constitutional amendment. In fact, Attorney General Mike Cox, who brought this case before the courts, offered this suggestion in his press interviews following the ruling.
As these homophobes cheer with glee at this dangerous victory, Michigan’s anti-LGBT movement is hoping this ruling makes it expensive and unwelcoming for LGBT families to live here, encouraging us to leave Michigan, and certainly hoping LGBT people who are considering a move to Michigan will go someplace else instead.
But we have some news for them – we aren’t going anywhere. We intend to stay here and fight for our right to be full citizens of this great state.
We live in every county of the state, and we are coming out, getting more involved, and integrating ourselves into all our local communities. Just last month, BTL meet with leaders in Flint, where a group of LGBT people and allies have come together with the Flint Greater Arts Council, to create gay positive programming for six months starting in October, 2007. In Benton Harbor, another group of dedicated activists have created a new community center project that is housed by the local YWCA. One of their first outreach projects may be to the local faith-based community.
In Ferndale, Affirmations Community Center will open their new, spectacular building this month. This beautiful new space will be a physical manifestation of our fabulous LGBT community and a symbol of what can be achieved when we work together towards a common goal.
This is no time to run scared – it’s time to get mad. It’s time to write our Michigan representatives, our local newspapers, and talk to our co-workers, families and neighbors about what this outrageous ruling really means. Go out and explain that children will no longer be covered by their parent’s health care plans because narrow-minded judges think our families are not legitimate. Explain that progressive people who value their LGBT friends will think badly about Michigan, and the high-tech industry that we all hope will replace our declining manufacturing job base will look for other places to locate their facilities.
This legal ruling will most likely to be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. But in the court of public opinion it will be the LGBT citizens on Michigan who will shape the debate. The LGBT community of Michigan needs to rally together more than ever, organize, stand up for our rights, and show this great state that its LGBT citizens are here to stay.

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.