Proposal 2 passes

By |2004-04-11T09:00:00-04:00April 11th, 2004|Uncategorized|

Anti-gay discrimination set to be written into state’s constitution
DETROIT – It was a day that will go down in gay rights infamy. After 20 weeks of urging Michigan voters not to write discrimination into the state’s constitution, organizers with the Coalition for a Fair Michigan conceded at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night that that’s what the state had decided to do. Proposal 2, which sought to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the state’s constitution, won by a margin of 59-41 percent.
“A majority of voters said yes to discrimination in Michigan and that is something that should trouble every Michiganian,” said Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation. “The passage of Proposal 2 is a shame and an embarrassment for Michigan because it creates a caste system granting basic rights to some and not others.”
In recent weeks, virtually every daily newspaper in the state came out against Proposal 2, and Governor Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Rep. John Conyers also lent their support to the No on 2 campaign. But in the end, that support mattered little when the voters had their say. The yes vote carried a majority in all 83 of Michigan’s counties.
Nationally, Michigan’s loss was part of a much larger trend. Ten additional states had similar measures on the ballot, and the measures passed in all of them – often with overwhelming majorities. The closest race was in Oregon, where at press time the standing was 57-43 percent with 84 percent of the vote accounted for. Michigan was the only other state to capture 40 percent or more of the no vote. On the other end of the spectrum, the Mississippi initiative passed by a margin of 86-14 (with 97 percent of the polls reporting) and in Kentucky the vote was 75-25 (with 99 percent of the vote in).
Disheartening as the numbers are, organizers in Michigan say there’s still cause for hope.
“You know what I’m thinking right about now?” Montgomery asked those gathered for the Coalition press conference at the Renaissance Center in Downtown Detroit. “We’re driving on these freeways that are wretched, right? And I think Proposal 2, at this point, is like one of those orange barrels. It’s an impediment, it’s in the way, it’s irritating but we know that eventually they’re going to be removed.”
Susan Horowitz, co-publisher of Between The Lines and a member of the Coalition’s steering committee, agreed.
“It was and continues to be an incredible journey,” she said. “We are only beginning tonight to stand up for what’s right in this state and in this country. We will see other setbacks tomorrow morning in the newspaper but we are as energized in this state and across the country as we’ve ever been. We’ve made great headway with only four percent of us out fully in our lives. So think what our power is. We’ve had thousands – no probably hundreds of thousands – of conversations in this state.”
Montgomery said that’s the type of grassroots activism that makes a difference.
“Equality and equal protection result from educating the public and changing hearts and minds,” he said. “The campaign over Proposal 2 has advanced the movement for the recognition for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in ways that no other opportunity has afforded in the last decade. Be clear, we will harness the energy that this proposal has awakened in our community and throughout Michigan and we will use it to propel the work ahead for all who value fairness.”
The battle may have been lost, said Horowitz, but the war is not over.
“Tomorrow we’re going to wake up and we’re going to continue to have those conversations,” she said. “We’re going to work with our allies even more fully and more closely and the day will come when this constitutional amendment will be reversed. I promise you.”

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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.