Editorial / Voices

EDITORIAL: Family and equality: An appeal against Michigan’s hateful same-sex marriage ban

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 11.15.48 PMTen years ago, the state of Michigan voted to deny same-sex couples their fundamental right to marry. This week, Michigan has been forced to rethink its opinion in federal court – and it’s about time.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer are the catalyst behind the appeal. The lesbian couple filed a lawsuit against the state, calling into question the constitutional legitimacy of Michigan Proposal 04-2.

The amendment, approved by Michigan voters with a 59-percent approval rate, prohibited the state from recognizing same-sex marriage. As a result, gay and lesbian couples are unable to legally and jointly adopt a child.

Rowse and Deboer said the amendment “enshrined discrimination in the state constitution.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Prohibiting same-sex couples from a state-recognized marriage is a direct violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The ban is an abomination.

Although the 10th Amendment gives powers to the states not specifically outlined by the federal government, it does not give states the right to “deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

While Rowse has been able to adopt two children and DeBoer has adopted one, the state’s bigoted legislation prevents each woman from obtaining guardianship should the other die.

In that unfortunate circumstance, the state would theoretically place their children in foster care, rather than keeping them in the hands of their immediate family.

Michigan’s legislation, clouded by neoconservative religious dogma, does not protect families. Essentially, the ban interferes with the best interest of the children.

The ban sacrifices the basic human right to love freely. Legal inequities – including health and death benefits – continue to remain between heterosexual and homosexual couples. The law also stifles free expression, forcing same-sex couples into a paradoxical relationship with the state.

So far, the court has heard testimony from myriad sources. Psychologists, sociologists, law and history professors and demographers have all testified on behalf of the plaintiffs.

The plaintiff’s argument has been fairly straightforward. Each expert repeated the same familiar conclusion: Same-sex couples are able to raise children just as effectively as heterosexual couples.

Nancy Cott, a Harvard professor with expertise in the history of marriage, encapsulated the issue with her testimony Friday.

“Nobody applying for a marriage license has ever been asked what roles the two parties will take on,” she said. “(Marriage) is about mutual support in an emotional way as well as in an economic way. So that relationship of marriage to gender has been on a historical trajectory toward a kind of neutrality.”

History supports Cott’s claims of social change.

Since Michigan’s ban in 2004, at least 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Earlier this month, federal judges struck down same-sex marriage bans in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia without trial.

President Barack Obama has continued to strive for LGBTQ rights. In 2010, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” – the military policy forcing gay and lesbian soldiers to remain silent about their sexual orientation – was repealed.

A recent Gallup Poll shows 54 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage. Both nationally and locally, gay and lesbian rights are making great strides. It’s time for Michigan to take a stance.

Legislators are duty-bound to uphold citizens rights and to abide by the constitution. While the state must recognize the outcome of a legal referendum – like proposal 04-2 – it also must recognize when motives are unconstitutional.

Governments that exclude a particular group of people invariably put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Not only do discriminatory laws send a hostile message to the homosexual community, they show the nation we do not respect the rights of all Michiganders.

In addition to driving away same-sex couples who want to make Michigan a home, the ban serves as a repellant for an entire generation. Young, college-educated men and women will see the ban as what it is – discrimination. Without change, Michigan will lose both homosexual and heterosexual couples to states that foster more progressive ideals.

Marriage is a right, not a privilege to be doled out by politicians or granted by a ballot proposal.

Same-sex couples deserve to be treated fairly. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is a hateful practice that must end.

While District Judge Bernard Friedman has jurisdiction in this particular case, the fight for equality will not end here. As citizens in a democratic society, we have the power to change this now.

Make your voice heard.

Tell our politicians that enough is enough. Bans on same-sex marriage diminish our basic human liberties and attempts to make lesbian or gay couples and their children less than what they really are – a family.

12 Comments

  1. chipskeptic says:

    Hateful? Bullsh… It was passed by a thoroughly democratic process which is what REALLY torks you off. Typical left wing bs editorial….

    • Yes, because the right would NEVER rail against a law that has been adopted through the democratic process!

      Also, I love how you show that “passed by a democratic process” automatically negates “hateful.” And that “passed by a democratic process” means “opinion will never change on this issue”, and that it is “set in stone, forever.” Thank you for enlightening us with this “logic”!

    • cmualum2007 says:

      Something agreed or even passed on by a majority does not mean it is not hateful. It can both be hateful and popular. Just a quick glance at history can validate this assertion (slavery, Jim Crow just to name two examples).

      Given you are unable to use basic logic, have a serious lack of perspective outside of your petty emotions, and you make-up words due to some obvious lack of vocabulary, I’m just going to stamp my “troll, do not feed” stamp over your name and only reply to destroy your whiny complaint and then ignore you thereafter. Go back under the bridge, educate yourself, and come up once you are able to form a coherent thought?

  2. michmediaperson says:

    The current CM LIFE editor, Hitler and Putin have one thing in common—-overthrow the results of elections and laws voted in by people.

    Here is what the editor left out:

    Before election day, 2004, papers like the Free-Press, the liberal rag, tried everything they could to sway voters including polls showing Michigan voters would vote NOT to ban same-sex marriage.

    Guess what happened on election day. Democrats, Independents and Republicans came together as a bi-partisan group and said that gay marriage is immoral and voted overwhelmingly to ban it. The will of the people has no place in the mind of the editor and homosexuals statewide. They’re telling the voters stick it. We’ll shop around for a goofball judge to overturn an election.

    Now, the editor wants a judge to overthrow the election.
    In fact, he uses the same flawed opinion poll the liberals used in 2004 to base his claims.

    What the editor and homosexuals should do is gather up a petition drive and place it on the ballot. Let the voters decide. Perhaps, the editor fears that a majority of Michigan voters have some morality left in them to say no to gay marriage.

    At the same time, if the editor is going to rely on opinion polls to overthrow elections, how about we boot Barack Hussein Obama and Joe Biden out of White House now!!!! Why can we do this??? Because opinion polls show Obama with a 38 percent approval and 56 percent disapproval. We could use the editor’s rationale.

    Getting back to the gay issue, the editor also left out a big piece of the puzzle because he’s obviously a liberal Democrat.

    In 1996, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (Hillary’s cheating husband) signed the Defense of Marriage Act BANNING gay marriage. Why no mention of this Justin????
    Don’t want to embarrass your party???? In fact, Carl Levin voted for it. So, I guess we can say that Bill Clinton and Carl Levin are homophobes and won’t tolerate gay marriage. They signed it into law!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You say this is a hateful law but you use insulting and hateful words describing church-going people as neoconservatives.

    Most young people don’t go to church and shun God. They’d rather worship Obama or the Kardashians or some rapper.

    Justin, one question—-Why did God create Adam and Eve, instead of Adam and Steve?????? What does the Bible say about homosexuality???? What does the Muslim faith say about homosexuality????

    In fact, Justin, I challenge you to write an editorial stating in the headline—God, Jesus and the Muslims are homophobes. You know what PR nightmares you’d create for the university.

    I’ll give you another fact Justin. Nearly every state, perhaps all, that has put gay marriage on the ballot—the voters have voted down same sex marriage. The voters don’t want it. Many have to tell opinion pollsters they’re for it so they won’t be called homophobes. The voters voted it down and then the homosexuals will find some dumb extreme left-wing judge to overturn the election just like Hitler ran things….or Putin is in the Ukraine.

    One last point. The Bible and morality teaches marriage is between one man and one woman. Now, the CM LIFE editor wants a man/man and woman/woman marriage law.
    So, what happens if I find 5 women who want to marry me. Is CM LIFE going to write an editorial advocating I have the right under the 10th and 14th amendments to marry five women????? Or marry, my sister???? Or my dog or horse????? What’s the difference.

    The Bible states: 1 man, 1 woman. That should be Michigan law unless the voters say otherwise. So, far, at the ballot box, Michigan voters have said NO to gay marriage.

    A majority of black ministers nationwide are anti-gay marriage. Are they all neoconservative religious dogma nuts as you claim??? Those of us who go to church follow the bible. So, you insult us with that hateful sentence.

    This editorial doesn’t have any facts to back up any reasoning. Chipskeptic was right. It was passed by a thoroughly democratic process.

    But, heck with elections. CM LIFE, like Hitler and Putin believe in dictatorship, not the rule of law.

    • Christopher Davis says:

      One may wish to be a bit more judicious when equating a newspaper editor with a dictator responsible for the systematic execution of 6 million people.

  3. I 1000% agree with your reference to the democratic process. However, I would venture to say that public opinion on this matter has changed drastically over the last decade. As a result it may not be the worst idea to re-examine this standing (via the appropriate channels).

    Regarding “typical left wing bs” feel free to send in your own editorial…

  4. “Hateful,” “fundamental right,” “enshrined discrimination in the state constitution,” “the ban is an abomination,” “the state’s bigoted legislation.” These are a few comments from your editorial above. It seems hyperbole is alive and well.

    If your words are true you need to assign them to people. Who is hateful? Who is a bigot? Who is an abomination? I am growing tired of being called names for disagreeing with you on this issue. There is no hatred in the view of pure Christianity.

    Should I describe the editorial staff of CM Life as hateful because they disagree with me?
    The words you have chosen are hateful and show no respect for other views. Is this the editorial staffs view on tolerance? Surely other words would have been satisfactory.

    Your view is in direct opposition to the teaching of the bible. 7 times homosexuality is discussed, 7 times it is condemned. Marriage is defined as between a man and a wife. The words husband, wife, mother and father are used more times then I can count. You are free to believe what you believe, and so am I. I am not forced to your view or you mine. If mine is of a biblical nature then so be it. If yours is not then so be it also. Just keep in mine your words used above are directed at Christians. And we, my friends, are not hateful to gays.

    The true Christian loves them in the same way as they do those who are trapped in wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; those who invent ways of doing evil; those who disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. In other words, sin is sin. You don’t have to believe the gay life style is sin but Christians do. (Read the bible for reference.)

    Any Christian who is hateful towards anyone is not practicing true Christianity. We are not called to hate. I hope you would refrain from calling us names based on our faith and the Word of God.

  5. michmediaperson says:

    If we are going by public opinion polls, then let’s overthrow Obama and Biden and overturn the election of 2012.

    The USA is a country of laws.

    If you want to vote down the election of 2004 when 59 percent of us voted against gay marriage in Michigan, then CM LIFE and the homosexual community need to get the necessary petition signatures to place it on the 2014 or 2016 election and let the voters say yea or no.

    That’s how the USA is suppose to run.

    We don’t pass laws by polls. We do it through the ballot box.

  6. please, straight people even have a right to marry. and gays sure don’t have the right to change the definition of marriage because “civil unions” don’t give them the acceptance they seek. if marriage was a right, the gov’t would be in the business of finding spouses for all unmarried people. laughable.

  7. oh marriage. so much controversy. “it’s in the bible! it’s in the bible!” separation of church and state. “it was voted on and passed.” absolutely true and a vote is the only logical way to change it.

    being married by a judge is not recognized as marriage by most churches, even when it’s between a man and a woman. there has to be a religious ceremony for it to be valid in the eye’s of God. state sponsored marriage is strictly a legal contract for the mutual financial benefit of those entering the contract. it is not a moral or religious declaration of any kind. separation of church and state. so the law, that was legally voted and passed by the people of Michigan, is basically denying people the right to enter into that social contract that provides government sponsored entitlements. entitlements? aren’t those bad? perhaps we should be looking at the necessity of marriage and its financial perks as they currently exist. Republicans are always looking for ways to reduce ‘entitlement spending’ maybe this would be a good way to do that. by eliminating government paid marriage benefits we could save tax dollars and eliminate the debate over defining marriage. marriage could return to being a religious sacrament, separate from the state and allowed to be defined by individual group’s beliefs. denying government benefits/entitlements based on religious beliefs violates the separation of church and state.

  8. I am not gay and I have very strong moral and Christian values I feel Marriage is a sacred vow between a Man and a Woman by God and gays should not be allowed to marry. A man leaves his home and meets a woman when the two marry they become one in they eyes of our God. We are to still love one another and not judge the person but his/her inmortality. I also have a cousin that is gay but I do not support that she wants to marry a woman.

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