Although the presidential election seemed to overshadow any state election this November, three states — Maryland, Maine and Washington — all voted to recognize same-sex marriage.
In another state, a ballot proposal that would have amended Minnesota’s state constitution to ban same-sex marriage was struck down by voters. This came just months after President Barack Obama affirmed his support of same-sex marriage.
And although Michigan has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, the mood of Michiganians seems to be changing in favor of granting equal rights for same-sex couples, and Michigan soon might join the list of states that recognize gay marriage.
Omari Sankofa II
An MSU poll found an increase in support for gay marriage in Michigan. The poll found 56 percent of adults support same-sex unions while 39 percent oppose it. This is an increase from two years ago when 51 percent said they opposed gay marriage while 48 percent supported it. The telephone poll surveyed 1,015 Michigan adults and was conducted this past summer.
This comes just eight years after Michigan passed a ballot proposal amending the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Nationally, support for same-sex marriage also is growing, with a recent Pew Research Center poll finding 47 percent of Americans support gay marriage, while 43 percent oppose it. This is an increase from 2008, when 39 percent favored gay marriage and 51 percent opposed it and a dramatic increase from 2004, when 60 percent of the public opposed gay marriage.
It is time for Michigan to put marriage equality back on the ballot and add Michigan to the list of states that recognize same-sex marriage. The United States always has been a progressive nation, and although at times we’ve greatly limited the rights of many citizens, we always move in the direction of providing more rights for everyone, regardless of race or whom you love.
Ours is a nation that prides itself on its acceptance of all, but until we grant same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, we’re still discriminating against a large minority of the U.S. population. By not allowing same-sex couples the right to marry whom they love, Michigan and other states are saying homosexual people are not equal to heterosexual people and should not be granted equal rights. These people are our classmates, our friends and, in many cases, our family members. They should be allowed to love freely without persecution from the government.
Gay marriage support is gaining momentum not only in Michigan, but across the U.S. The country is moving in a direction of acceptance rather than continued discrimination. Hopefully, within the next decade, equal rights will be granted to every American, regardless of whether the person he or she loves is of the same sex.
And much like the U.S.’s days of racial segregation, someday we will look back on this part of history, ashamed that we did not stand up for equal rights earlier.