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In recent issues we’ve talked about the attacks on LGBT families taking place throughout the state. The Contentious Objector Status Act, which just passed the Michigan House, allows a health care provider to refuse to treat LGBT patients. Meanwhile, those opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples are working feverishly to gather enough signatures to put the issue of writing discrimination into Michigan’s constitution, which was wisely defeated in the state legislature, to a public vote. As a policy, civil rights in this country have never been left up to the general public. If they were, it’s likely the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 would have never been passed and it’s doubtful enough signatures would have even been collected to call for a vote.
So often we’re told by so-called religious leaders that it’s unethical for us to compare the struggle for gay rights to the great civil rights movement of the 1960s. But a bill that would allow medical practitioners in Michigan the right to post “heterosexuals only” signs in their lobby eerily calls to mind the days when blacks and whites lived and moved about in two separate worlds. It is clear that our would-be oppressors want to relegate us to second-class citizenship.
We should be used to the attacks by now, and most of us probably are. But Michigan is taking it a step further now by threatening our families. An anti-gay bill that would make it more difficult for LGBTs to adopt is before the House right now. Another bill that would make second-parent adoptions impossible is said to be on its way. Locally, we explore in this issue the plight of young LGBTs in Detroit and the discrimination they face in the public school system, which continues to fight against the implementation of gay-straight alliances designed to promote tolerance and respect for all students regardless of their sexual orientation.
We have implored you in the past to take action against these efforts and others. We would do so again today but have found someone who can say it much better. With all these anti-gay initiatives taking place here at home, it took a very special out-of-town visitor to remind us that we’re not alone in our struggle. The first lady of the civil rights movement was in town last week with a timely message that called for equality for all.
“A core principle of the American Dream is that people of all races, religions and cultures can live together as brothers and sisters,” said Coretta Scott King. “This was our central motivating vision in the American civil rights movement. We must make brotherhood and sisterhood a global reality and the laboratory for experimentation has to be in these United States of America. One simple but important thing we can all do is take a firm stance and speak out against hatred, intolerance and injustice. Don’t let a racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic or bigoted remark go unchallenged.”
King also seemed to speak on the need for GSAs in Detroit schools, though no one had, in fact, asked her to do so.
“We have to inoculate students of all ages against the toxic viruses of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and all forms of bigotry,” she said. “The quality of American society in the 21st century depends on how well we educate children growing up right now about human rights. [We need to] create more education and training programs in American schools promoting respect for all religions, races and cultures.”
If you won’t speak out for us, do it for King. Who could argue with such a woman?