A Letter to the Governor

Dear Governor Snyder;

First thank you for stepping up and serving the State of Michigan. As Governor, you are the individual we look at to lead our state towards not only prosperity and success but also being an equitable, socially just and compassionate state.

That being said, it is disheartening to see that you are not fulfilling your role as the leader of our state by allowing discriminatory legislation being passed to support federal and state funded businesses and organizations.

Those individuals who are entrepreneurs and business owners, be it for-profit or non-profit, public or private should be commended. They put themselves on the line to offer services at the whim of society. However, it holds a certain expectation of responsibility and accountability not only as best business practices and personal values, but to the society they serve.

While private and non-secular businesses who discriminate have the ability to deny services on grounds such as values, religion, faith, etc, it is their personal decision to deny those services. While I personally feel it is sad and unfortunate, it is their right. I do not want to force them to offer services if they do not wish to.

However, if these businesses receive state and federal funds they should not be protected for their discriminatory practices. It is a conscious decision to accept state and federal funds to start or sustain a business. As with everything there are expectations and standards to meet in order to receive funds. Having non-discriminating practices should be one of the unwavering requirements that should not be compromised.

I say this in the aftermath of your signing the Michigan House bills 4188, 4189 and 4190 in regards to protecting religious objections in the adoption process. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, in 2012, 3,586 children were waiting to be adopted. Why are we putting more barriers between loving parents and these children?

By signing those bills into law, you are only building additional barriers between individuals wishing to adopt and children who only want loving forever homes as well as allowing discrimination to occur by state funded organizations. Additionally you are proving that the government is not looking out for the people it represents, but rather the personal agendas of the elite few.

I find it discouraging to see the Michigan government so focused on supporting practices that encourage discrimination. At what point in time did state legislators decide that they should support discrimination rather than fight it?

Sadly the most recent decisions of our legislators, and yourself, have not surprised me. The simple fact that the Michigan Legislation will not add LGBTQIA identities or expressions to the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act is enough to example the mis-prioritizing and discriminatory agendas of state leaders and recent events are simply perpetuating their decisions further.

As Governor, I’d like to think that you would lead for the betterment of your citizens. Not the betterment of only your financiers. I’d like to think that you would set an agenda that would benefit all the citizens that you lead. Not set one that would only benefit you or your friends and colleagues of the 1%.

Why won’t you fight for the rights of your citizens with the ferocity that you have dealt with the state budget? When will you begin being the Governor of a people and not a machine?

As Governor, you have a responsibility to the people. You can not skirt the issue of discrimination in your government and state any longer. You cannot turn a blind eye to the growing majority of your citizens to are fighting and supporting for the rights of this population.

Please do not forget, amongst the daily grind, the oath you swore to when you entered office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Governor according to the best of my ability.” (Constitution of Michigan of 1963)

The entire purpose for the establishment of our nation was for Life, Liberty and Happiness. For freedom from tyranny, and “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  (Constitutions of the United State of America) And as governor, how is creating and supporting legislation and practices that are discriminatory establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare and securing liberty?

I ask you, as a fellow Michigander, that you finally truly start fighting with me for equality.

Brian David Proffer, Lansing, Michigan

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

**Snaps to my friend John for his help with some editing and terminology for this post. 🙂

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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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