Marriage equality most important in states like Michigan

By |2009-02-05T09:00:00-05:00February 5th, 2009|Uncategorized|

Freedom to Marry Week is upon us, and we seemingly have no reason to celebrate.
Why talk about the need for marriage equality in a state like Michigan, where our families can’t even have equal adoption rights for both partners, health care plans that cover our children and loved ones, or hospital visitation rights?
A big ceremony and little certificate that certifies “‘Til death do us part” is the last thing on the minds of many Michigan LGBTs.
But while its important to work to secure marriage equality this year and in the years to come in key states like California, New Jersey and New York, it’s even more important to fight in states where we have little semblance of equal rights at all.
As Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, said in a recent interview with Between The Lines “the fight for marriage equality in Michigan has not yet begun.”
When Proposal 2 made its way onto the ballot for the November 2004 elections, we reacted with an outcry and outreach to try to educate voters about the pain and hardship this would cause Michiganders – both gay and straight. We petitioned and we workshopped, we spoke out and we rallied – and when the measure passed, we felt as though we had failed. But the key word in all that? Reacted.
The new model for LGBT Michigan? Be proactive.
As Proposal 2 has taught us here, and Proposition 8 has taught the nation, being reactive isn’t nearly as effective. And while we fought hard to secure equality in Michigan, the fight should have started before it did, and we should have fought harder.
The answer now is to push onward, even though we’ve already had our rights taken away. We can’t wait for progressive states to save us, because as we learned in California, they still have their own marriage equality battles to fight – even when the state itself may seem extremely forward-thinking.
Freedom to Marry week is even more important in Michigan, because our battle has not begun. We lost in 2004, and where have we gone since then? Last year, things went even further south for us when we lost domestic partnership benefits due to horribly biased leadership in our state Supreme Court.
But now, legislators (for the most part) are on our side. And though the light at the end of California or New York’s tunnel is a lot easier to see than our own, that’s all the more reason to move faster and work harder to find our own light and our own equality here in Michigan.
This Freedom to Marry Week, from Feb. 8-14, have the tough conversations that will spark the changes we want. Text, blog, Facebook, Twitter, post, e-mail and do whatever it is you can to get the word out about marriage equality in Michigan. Tell your friends, families, neighbors and co-workers: we haven’t dropped this issue, we haven’t forgotten and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and do the real work to make marriage equality a reality in Michigan.

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.