Tuesday, April 23, 2024

LGBT community rallies at state Capitol

August 23, 2014
<p>From left, Haslett, Mich., residents Mark Cook and Josh Taylor watch Michigan politicians speak about LGBT rights during a commitment ceremony held by Michigan Pride on Aug. 23, 2014, at the Capitol building in Lansing. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News</p>

From left, Haslett, Mich., residents Mark Cook and Josh Taylor watch Michigan politicians speak about LGBT rights during a commitment ceremony held by Michigan Pride on Aug. 23, 2014, at the Capitol building in Lansing. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News

Photo by Jessalyn Tamez | The State News

Stephanie Warshaw committed herself to the love of her life on Saturday, on the steps of the Capitol building in Lansing, with a sea of rainbow-colored flags waving in the summer sun.

Although Warshaw's marriage won't be legal with Michigan's same-sex marriage ban, she said Saturday's commitment ceremony, hosted by Michigan Pride, was the closest she and her partner, Amanda Hart, could get to the real thing.

"This is what it should be. It shouldn’t matter that I love her and want to marry her," Warshaw said of the ceremony, becoming emotional. "It was so nice to have people supporting us, because my family doesn’t."

Warshaw and Hart, along with about two dozen other same-sex couples, were joined in love on Saturday as part of Michigan Pride's 25th annual state-wide pride march, rally and commitment ceremony.

Michigan Pride Chair and Festival Director Emily Horvath, a MSU alumna, said the event is the largest of its kind in Michigan and draws LGBT community members from all over the state. 

"For so many years we have done a commitment ceremony as a sign of protest against the ban on gay marriage," Horvath said. "It's something we do symbolically to show we want those marriage rights, deserve those rights and respect the idea of marriage."

During the rally, gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and running mate Lisa Brown gave speeches voicing their support of LGBT rights. 

"Mark and I get it, we know love is love," Brown said. "Discrimination against the LGBT community has no place in Michigan."

The rally also had other speakers educate attendees on topics like AIDS and HIV prevention, and offered support for young members of the community to celebrate "gay culture."

"Brothers and sisters, this is 2014," Schauer said during his speech. "It's time for Michigan, our Michigan, to get on the right side of history. To treat all michiganders with respect and dignity."

Michigan Pride ended the rally, parade and commitment ceremony by holding a festival in Old Town. 

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