Achieving social change can be a
frustrating endeavor. Progress on civil rights follows a familiar
pattern: two steps forward countered by one step backward. All the
momentum and accomplishments that benefited black Americans in the
’60s stalled in the ’70s under the weight of President
Nixon’s emphasis on “law and order.” Change can
be uncomfortable, unsettling, and many Americans will resist it.
But the familiar waltz of progress tempered by conservatism
reliably takes Americans to a more just, a more decent status quo,
and history does not judge those who resist change as kindly as
those who seek it. That is why it is important to vote against
Proposal 2, which would make civil unions and gay marriage
unconstitutional in the state of Michigan.
Since the summer of 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in
Lawrence v. Texas that anti-sodomy laws are illegal, gay rights has
moved to the top of the nation’s political agenda. The
national discourse that the opinion jump-started has made the
prospect of expanding gay rights all the more probable, but it also
created a potent political issue. Unfortunately, a number of
national and state leaders have sought to capitalize on the
discomfort much of the public feels by further politicizing the
issue to their advantage. And because gay marriage is illegal
nationwide, this has meant proposing constitutional amendments that
are unique in that instead of granting rights and protection to a
community, they eliminate rights.
An amendment to the U.S. Constitution failed in the Senate, and
its state counterpart failed in the Legislature. But a majority
vote of the public is sufficient to amend the state constitution,
and an uninformed or temporarily moved majority could eliminate the
rights of a minority. When a vocal minority founded this nation, it
worked hard to establish a political system in which the whims
— however heartfelt and sincere at the time — of the
majority could not dictate its countrymen’s lives.
Those founders also wanted the nation’s religious
institutions to be protected from the state and in turn, for there
to be a separation between those institutions and the state.
Proposal 2 is a direct challenge to that mutually beneficial
precedent. Religious doctrine cannot be transcribed into the
In time, attitudes will change, and gay rights will no longer be
a controversial political issue. Americans will recognize that gay
marriage is not a threat to heterosexual marriage, and they will
even come to a place many conflicted gay Americans have not yet
reached themselves: acceptance. When that time comes, our children
and grandchildren will reflect on how this generation reacted to
the inevitable change we now see taking place in our country.
They will see that some Americans embraced the changes, while
others accepted and tolerated them despite some discomfort. But
those who passionately and hatefully led the resistance to the
liberation of a downtrodden community, those who chose to divide
this country out of disdain for that same community, will wish they
had been on the other side of this dispute.
We urge you to VOTE NO on Proposal 2.