I was raised to believe that all people are equal.
My parents and teachers taught me that I shouldn’t look down on people for being different, whether they are a different race or religious affiliation, or because they might dress strangely or come from the bad part of town. I was taught to look for value in all people. And most importantly, I was taught that the role of our government is to protect people and to ensure that everyone is equal.
The government of Michigan is failing miserably at treating all of its citizens as equal. The percentage of non-heterosexual and non-cisgendered people living in Michigan is estimated to be somewhere between 10% and 40%. That’s a pretty big chunk of the population.
Our state constitution bans gay marriage. If I got married in a different state or in Canada, Michigan wouldn’t even recognize it. We can’t even get civil unions - the amendment that banned marriage also banned domestic partnerships. Even if my employer believes that my spouse should get the same benefits as the spouses of other employees, it’s illegal for them to give us those benefits.
Unless I work directly for the government, I can legally be fired for being gay or transgender.
Michigan is one of only 3 states in the country that bans adoption by gay couples.
Anti-gay hate crimes in Michigan have increased by an estimated 133% since 2009. Of course, these criminals don’t get charged for hate crimes, because Michigan doesn’t recognize that crimes can be committed based on sexuality.
In 2011, a Public Policy Polling survey was taken to find out how the population felt regarding gay marriage. It found that 62% of voters were in favor of government recognition of same-sex couples, with 29% supporting full marriage rights and 31% supporting civil unions, but not marriage. 3% of the remaining 38% were not sure.
What does that mean? Only 35% of the population fully supports the ban on gay marriage and same-sex civil unions.
Now, you might say that you can’t be born gay - sexuality is a choice. Many people would disagree with you, but that doesn’t matter. Religion is also a choice. We have LOTS of protections for that. Owning a gun is a choice. Speaking my mind is a choice. Those are also protected under the U.S. Constitution.
The bottom line is, when you tell some people that they can’t get married and receive the approximately 400 marriage benefits that other people can get, that’s discrimination. It isn’t right. It isn’t fair. It isn’t just.
You are an elected official. We, the people, elected you. We gave you power. It is your duty as our governor to fight for our rights. Please, Mr. Snyder, help us make the change. Help us become the state we are meant to be, a place where all people are equal.
A must-read story in the New York Times [http://nyti.ms/1a7ReC4] details that “even as the city wrestles with the $18 billion of debt that has overwhelmed it, Detroit has already been billed more than $19.1 million by firms hired to sort through that debt, search for ways to restructure it, and now guide the city through court.”
“It’s just ridiculous,” Edward L. McNeil, an official with the local council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said of the mounting costs. “The only thing that’s getting done is that these people are getting paid big-time while the citizens of Detroit are getting ripped off.”