Editorial: Respect is the answer

By |2005-10-13T09:00:00-04:00October 13th, 2005|Uncategorized|

When we were children, our parents would encourage us to respect people – our elders, other family members, friends and neighbors. They would explain to us that even though someone is different, or even if we think they’re scary, that it was our responsibility to be kind and generous towards them.
At least those of us at BTL can remember our parents saying that to us.
Apparently Sen. Alan Cropsey missed that lecture as a child because he has convinced himself that only by eliminating our families from the public sphere can he be happy and content. He is completely committed to removing LGBT families from view in Michigan, a truly bizarre and focused goal. Unfortunately, he was able to get a majority in the Michigan Senate to go along with a resolution that encourages the courts to bar LGBT families from receiving healthcare benefits from their public employers.
Cropsey and his gang argue that LGBT people are the recipients of “special rights” that impinge on the rights of him and others that aspire to be like him. But what we as LGBT people need and want from our fellow citizens is simply respect as fellow human beings. Yes, we are different and yes our families are structured in ways that may seem foreign to an outsider. But our families are strong, loving and in need of healthcare benefits, just like anyone else’s family.
We ask that the Michigan legislature think hard about why they want to exclude LGBT families from view. Is it because LGBT people are raising strong, healthy families despite many obstacles? Is it because studies show that children raised in LGBT families tend to be more open minded and accepting of people who are different from them? Is it because LGBT families are becoming more visible every day, and there have yet to be any serious negative consequences?
We would like to thank all of the Senators who voted against Cropsey’s resolutions, especially Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) who spoke out in forceful opposition to the measures on the Senate floor. Jacobs called the resolutions homophobic and stated that homophobia is “the last bastion of popular discrimination, sometimes justified by religious scripture that exploits the worst aspects of human nature in order to sometimes feed a political agenda.”
The majority of Michigan Republicans and a number of Michigan Democrats have gotten plenty of mileage out of discriminating against gays and lesbians. Last week’s vote proves they aren’t finished with us yet. We must stand up and fight back.
Michigan needs strong families, of whatever shape, size, configuration or denomination. Our legislators should get out of the business of deciding who has the right to create a family, and should get into the business of supporting ALL Michigan families. Children of LGBT people need healthcare, parents of LGBT people need senior services and the spouses of LGBT people need their employers to understand who they are and provide the same benefits as they do for their heterosexual employees.
Our parents wanted us to grow to be strong, loving people who contribute to our neighborhoods and families. We are trying, despite the nastiness of the Michigan Senate. We just ask that our elected officials treat us with respect as citizens and quit trying to strip us of our employment benefits simply because we are LGBT people.

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.