Nothing makes our week here at BTL fly by faster than some good news. The vote in the Massachusetts legislature last week to uphold same-sex marriage was indeed historic and glorious. Three quarters of the state legislature refused to cave in to fear and bigotry by placing the issue before voters in a ballot initiative. No-one’s civil rights should ever be put to a vote and we in the LGBT community have bared the brunt of exactly this kind of voting during the past quarter century.
Rather than stand down, our community here at home and across the nation is galvanized, organized and building alliances to overcome these injustices.
Last week the Michigan Appeals Court rightly kicked the American Family Association, Michigan chapter out of court, saying they have no standing with the court regarding domestic partner issues brought by them.
The malicious campaign waged against our community back in 2004, viciously led in our state in part by the AFA to allegedly preserve marriage between one man and one woman, is beginning to backfire.
Citizens in Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Lansing and other cities are standing up to say “no” to the attack on our domestic partner benefits at public institutions. And the institutions themselves, led by MSU, are finding ways to offer these benefits in spite of these far right wing assaults.
The climate is surely shifting and polls increasingly show that the politics of fear is no longer working its magic. Wedge issues are losing their momentum, especially when they are rooted in purely mean-spirited, un-American values.
While we may have a long fight ahead in Michigan, we firmly believe that some day our state constitution will be amended to undo the discrimination written into it with the 2004 anti-marriage amendment.
We are also thrilled to report on several youth initiatives in this current issue from CampOUT, now in its second year to the first of its kind statewide prom held in Lansing last week. Organizers reported that well over 1,000 youth responded to the MySpace page set up for the event with 76 attending.
We are especially gratified when we hear the voices of youth, gay and straight, who simply do not buy into antigay rhetoric. Young people see us on TV, on the internet, in films and hear us in their music. To the younger generation, being LGBT is no big deal, and discrimination against someone because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation seems “old news” to them.
In much the same way that racial discrimination seemed ludicrous to the generation that struck down state bans against interracial marriage 40 years ago,(see our coverage on Loving on page 16), younger people get that LGBT people are just that – people. We are inspired and encouraged by the progress we see in the younger generation. Our future looks brighter in their hands.