by BTL Staff
A crowd of nearly 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters protested on the steps of the Michigan Capitol on the night of May 26 in opposition to a California Supreme Court ruling which upheld a ban on same-sex marriage approved by Golden State voters last November.
Organizers said the event was “to call for absolute equality” in the state of Michigan for LGBT persons, with some advocates calling for an effort to put a new marriage equality amendment on the 2012 ballot.
“What a disappointing day this is in American history,” said Mitchell Rivard, president of the Michigan State University College Democrats. “The California Supreme Court reminded us today that we cannot sit back and wait for our system of government to do the right thing.”
Building on Rivard’s call to action, Julie Nemecek, co-director of Michigan Equality, made a promise of marriage equality in Michigan a reality by 2012.
“I am here today to tell you that…marriage equality is coming to Michigan,” she said. “I am confident a resolution to approve bring marriage equality will be approved in the 2012 election, if you help.”
Nemecek said in order to achieve that goal, activists would have to collect over 500,000 valid signatures on a proposal to remove the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage approved by Michigan voters in 2004.
After the announcement of a 2012 equality push, anti-gay activist Gary Glenn of the American Family Association responded on his group’s Web site. Glenn openly ridiculed Nemecek, calling her transition from male to female “delusional.”
As for the push for marriage equality on the 2012 ballot, Glenn was a lot more serious. We cannot dismiss as equally delusional his announcement of plans to put a constitutional amendment on Michigan’s 2012 ballot repealing our voter-approved Marriage Protection Amendment and legalizing so-called homosexual ‘marriage,'” Glenn wrote. “The Marriage Protection Amendment itself started with AFA-Michigan’s similar call for such a proposal in June 2003, culminating in a petition drive and voter approval in 2004.”
Glenn cited suspected support from Jon Stryker as greatly helping the cause, and called upon his followers to counteract the LGBT movement. “With your support,” he said, “the American Family Association of Michigan will continue to stand guard and prepare to meet and oppose any future such threat to marriage and the family in our state.”
LGBT activists, however, remain steadfast and unfettered.
“What this is about is this was a referendum on our lives. It was a referendum on whether we are full citizens or whether we are second class citizens,” said Denise Brogan-Kantor, chair of the board of trustees of Triangle Foundation. “Ladies and gentleman, this is a hate crime. This is a hate crime against us. We have to do more to protect us.”