Sunday, October 17, 2004

Gay Marraige Ban In My State

We've seen the issue of banning gay marraige sweep the country this past year and many states having votes to try to ban it. My state of Michigan is one of those states. We have it on the November 2nd ballot as Proposal 2, to define marraige as between a man and a woman that would become part of the state constitution.

I checked the recommendation of my local two paper newspaper, the Detroit News/Free Press which operates with a joint operation agreement with purposely seperated editorial boards.

I had expected that the two editorial boards would differ on their recommended vote about Proposal 2, but I was wrong. They both recommended voting NO on the proposal, with some differing reasons. More than likely though, voters will be guided by scare tactic advertising or emotions provoked by fear mongering homophobics.
Here are some of the comments from the two editorials.

Detroit Free Press;
The object is to ban marriage for gays and lesbians, already illegal under Michigan law that supporters of Proposal 2 fear will be overturned by the courts, as happened in Massachusetts. Members of Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, which collected the signatures that put Proposal 2 on the Nov. 2 ballot, take umbrage at accusations of bigotry. They argue that celebrating traditional marriage should not be taken to mean they're anti-something else. Whether it's naivete or ill will, they fail to acknowledge that the proposal is exclusionary in its decree that marriage is strictly for heterosexuals. Proposal 2 supporters also say it's about children -- families are healthier when one man and one woman raise their offspring. But families are healthiest when headed by two adults committed to one another. As many adoptive parents also have proved, biology can't claim the franchise on good child-rearing.

But benefits such as health care -- for spouses, partners and children -- tend to be doled out through jobs. Denying benefits to the households of gay employees means public systems will have to pick up those costs. A government stamp of approval makes it harder to walk away from a union, so if the real interest is in keeping families together, gay marriages would help. In a turbulent world, it's tempting to cling to tradition. But tradition is full of practices America long since shunned as discriminatory. The constitutional amendment blocks any possibility that gay couples might get the recognition to which they are entitled. Michigan should not ban gay marriage. Vote NO on Proposal 2.

Detroit News;
Opponents of same-sex marriages see them as a threat to traditional unions and an affront to the moral and religious values of many citizens. They are offering Proposal 2 on the ballot, which says “the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as marriage or similar union any purpose.” Those fighting the amendment say its language is so restrictive it would also ban homosexual civil unions, a legal arrangement a half-step down from marriage contracts and which has greater public support.

Michigan already has a state law banning same-sex marriages. Amendment backers fear that a court could overturn the law and, as the Massachusetts’ Supreme Court did, order state recognition of gay marriages. This is not an issue that should be decided by the courts. But neither is it one that should be permanently settled by a constitutional amendment.

Public attitudes toward homosexuals and gay marriage are shifting, as are moral values in general. What was not acceptable 20 years ago is regarded as perfectly OK today. Locking into the Constitution a permanent ban against same-sex marriage ignores the changing nature of attitudes about relationships. This is a matter the Legislature should continue to handle. A law is far easier to change, if necessary, than a constitutional amendment. Michigan voters should be content at this time to let its current law banning same-sex marriage stand and vote NO on Proposal 2.

I also recommend voting NO on Proposal 2, both editorials give my differing reasons. My main concern is that it seems more like constitutionalizing homophobia. Just as denying African Americans the right to vote was racist and not allowing woman equal rights was sexists, this proposal is motivated by hate.

Unfortunately I'm guessing that Michigan is going to pass this proposal and if that happens I will have a sense of shame about a majority of my states population.


Blogger Jacqueline said...

Let's write a amendent banning hate laws and amendments into the constitution!

9:50 AM  

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