The Mitten State is Becoming Harder to Love

Oh Michigan. How you make it hard for me to love you.

Courtesy of cvsflags.com

Courtesy of cvsflags.com

Lately Michigan has been taking some significant stances/hits in the fight for LGBT equality:

In November, the Sixth Circuit Federal Court overturned six District Court decisions in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee allowing same-sex marriage. This was in counter of the other Circuit Courts which up held same-sex marriage. (My hope is that it is a political move to force the Supreme Court to make a final decision on this.)

A week or so ago, the bill to amend the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (Michigan’s civil rights act) died in legislation because legislators would not include all LGBT identities.

And only days ago, the Michigan House passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allows people in the service industry, public or private, to deny services to any LGBT individual if they have any religious objection to the identity.  (Basically its a state version to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, and its goal is to further restrict rights and access of the LGBT community in Michigan.)

Now, I respect people’s opinions and love good healthy debates in order to reach progressive and inclusive decisions. But if there are not fruitful, inclusive and progressive decisions made, then at some point in time, there’s got  to be a point when enough is enough

What does it matter who I chose to love in order to receive basic human services or even any services? My loving Michael does not impede a straight couple’s ability to raise their children. It does not impede a taxi driver to sit in their seat and drive me to the airport. It does not impede an EMT to save my life if I am in an accident.

On the extreme side, what this will further allow Michigan to do is to basically perform a slow genocide of the LGBT population, both figuratively and literally. On the extreme literal end, because they are opening the option for service people not to provide services to HUMANS based on their  identity. However, what’s perhaps even more impactful, is that it is telling our youth and college graduates that they are not welcome in Michigan unless they are straight. So, basically: go to another state to be fruitful and productive if you are LGBT.

I was raised Catholic. I grew up with the best and worst of the Catholic mindset when it comes to identifying as LGBT. Some of my closest allies are Catholic and I’ve had some of my worse experiences come from those who are Catholic. So I know there are two sides. I respect them for having their views and beliefs. But why are they allowed to impede on my life, my survival and my experience as a human being on this planet?

I don’t see the LGBT community rising up and saying that we won’t serve the heterosexual community because they are discriminatory. I don’t see “I hate straights” bumper stickers or “kill the breeders” signs. I’m not seeing ally politicians or LGBT politicians rallying their supporters around a message of discrimination and hate.

At what point in time will the people of Michigan stand up and acknowledge that these type of decisions by the legal and legislative systems NOT acceptable? When will the LGBT Community in Michigan really rally together to move Michigan in a more inclusive direction as a population and an identity?

Its getting harder and harder for me to justify living and supporting the State of Michigan when they continually tell me that I am not welcome. It is ironic that my tax dollars are being used by individuals who discriminate against me to further their agenda of hate and persecution, by applying religious contexts which should have nothing to do in whether or not I am treated and identified equally as a human being.

Courtesy of lionsdistrict11a2.org

Courtesy of lionsdistrict11a2.org

Amidst all the conversations and events with Ferguson and New York, for me, it’s also been a busy time trying to keep up with the actions my state is taking in regards to the LGBT community as well. I appreciate y’all letting me vent and pose some of my questions and ponderings on recent events 🙂

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

 

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About bdproffer

I am currently the Assistant Manager for the University Activities Board at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, web 2.0, LGBT issues and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer for Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
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