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In the richest country in the world, it is immoral that there are people who have to choose between buying food and buying medicine. It is immoral that there are children who have no health insurance. Something as essential as health care should not be a privilege for the few. When we talk about family values, we must talk about the basic necessities that families need to be strong and to be safe.
Furthermore, it is morally wrong to treat the families of LGBT people as if they don’t exist, don’t count, or aren’t “really families.” This is exactly the message the proponents of Proposal 2 are sending with their new attack on domestic partner benefits for state workers.
Because gays and lesbians can’t get married – or have our relationships legally recognized in any other way in Michigan – our families are often at a disadvantage when it comes to things like health care coverage. Our families are denied things like medical leave, hospital visitation, and even bereavement time because the government doesn’t recognize what we have as family.
Two weeks ago it looked like the state of Michigan was finally making some progress toward equality with the inclusion of domestic partner benefits in state worker contracts for the first time ever.
Opponents immediately kicked up a fuss claiming that Proposal 2 prevented the state from offering state workers these benefits because it was recognizing gay families as, well, families.
Those six words: “or similar union for any purpose” are the culprit. Legally ambiguous and intentionally used to try to maximize the damage of this amendment, those six words sent alarm bells off in the LGBT and allied communities from the start. Proponents of the measure said it was only to “protect marriage.” No more, no less. They lied. We knew they were lying, and now they’re shamelessly trying to cause further harm to our families. Moral values, indeed.
In this issue we report the latest on the DP benefits fiasco for state workers. For those who have been following the DP benefits story in the mainstream media, you might think that Jennifer Granholm caved and removed DP benefits from the state worker contracts with her own two hands. Not so. There are prudent legal reasons for the actions taken by the state. We understand that even if we may not think that it was handled well.
But let us be clear. A lesbian couple raising four kids or a gay man and his partner of over two decades are as much a family as any legally married man and woman and it is immoral to treat them as legal strangers to each other. There are gay and lesbian families in every county in this state and if they’re not all out waving the rainbow banner it’s because they’re under attack and they need protection from some strong leadership in Lansing.
We urge our readers to keep contacting Granholm’s office. Let her know how you feel about this issue. She can’t hear from us enough right now.
And we urge Granholm to do the right thing. Standing up for the LGBT community – our families – may be called a political risk, but it is the moral thing to do. Granholm was widely supported by the LGBT community when she was elected because she said she would be a friend to our community and had a strong commitment to civil rights. We urge her to remember that. We are under attack and we need our friends more than ever.