UPDATE: We put together a short sampling of some of the Michigan Pride 2013 speeches advocating for equality. Enjoy:
This weekend, thousands of people will converge on Lansing for Michigan Pride 2013 to support and celebrate the LGBT community. It will be one of the rare occasions of the year when the majority of people at the Capitol actually support LGBT rights. When the legislature is in session, it’s a different story.
Whether it’s Gov. Rick Snyder’s ban on domestic partner benefits – and Attorney General Bill Shuette’s defense of it; Michigan National Republican Committeeman Dave Agema’s peddling of a homophobic and inaccurate study on homosexuality on his Facebook page and comparing gay people to alcoholics; or if it’s Rep. Tom McMillin calling the push for equal rights a “very intolerant movement” – Michigan Republicans have proven time and time again that they are no friends of the LGBT community.
Snyder and the GOP sects of the legislature have not made LGBT rights a priority as they continually ignore the fact that it is legal to fire someone in Michigan because they are gay. The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act needs to be amended to include gender identity and sexual orientation to protect against discrimination in employment, housing and public services. However, the governor and Republicans have shown no such interest in protecting the rights of the LGBT community.
Despite Snyder’s lack of leadership and Republicans’ continually looking away from the issue, local governments around the state have taken action and have adopted or are actively engaged in drafting LGBT non-discrimination ordinances of their own. This is one of the reasons Michigan Pride is important – to celebrate the resolve and dedication of the LGBT community and their supporters.
The tides of intolerance are slowly rolling back in Michigan and across the country (does the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act by the U.S. Supreme Court ring a bell?) and progress is on the horizon. The attitudes of Michiganders have changed since the passage of the 2004 ban on same-sex marriage, as now majority of residents support lifting the ban. If Snyder and the Republicans want to continue to wade in the shallows of denial that things are changing, they too will be pulled out with the tide.
Progress Michigan will be on site for Michigan Pride and will post photos and videos from the events on Saturday.
For more information on Michigan Pride: http://www.michiganpride.org/ / @MIPride