Saturday, June 20, 2015

Will not take you for your word

The lead story in this week's Between the Lines, Michigan's gay newspaper, was naturally about Gov. Rick Snyder signing those bills that allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to serve gay people. I've summarized much of the story before, so I'll only add new details.

Such as … BTL reported that Snyder's signature to these bills may be part of a deal to fund the state's roads (the big proposal to fund roads was voted down, lawmakers are still struggling to find another way). That is, as the BTL editorial put it, "a new moral and ethical low." Sexual minorities have long heard the term, "thrown under the bus," referring to a person or group sacrificed so another person or group can get ahead. A big example is transgender people being excluded from bills to expand civil rights so that rights for gays and lesbians might pass. But if the BTL reporting is true same-sex couples weren't thrown under the bus, they were thrown under the pavement.

Or under this:

In Illinois the courts demanded all agencies accepting taxpayer money must provide domestic partner benefits. Catholic agencies refused, and closed. "There are no reports that shifting the adoption cases from those agencies to other agencies resulted in any difficulties impacting the children." So Snyder's fear the closing of Catholic agencies would mean fewer kids being adopted is a smokescreen. We won't miss them.

BTL's editorial on this topic is quite blunt with this close:
Gov. Snyder, despite all your rhetoric about opposing discrimination, you've proven yourself to be a liar. We cannot and will not take you for your word anymore. You, Mr. Governor, are a threat to the health, safety and welfare of Michigan. You, Mr. Governor, are a danger to Michigan's children and a menace to the LGBTQ community.

The Michigan legislature, sometimes in cooperation with Snyder, had a busy week showing how intolerant they are. Some of these bills are not law yet.

* The religious objection adoption bills (as mentioned above).

* Needy families can be kicked off welfare if one child is chronically truant.

* Part of a proposed road funding package is funded by reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit, which will take money away from poor people.

* More road money would come from cutting economic development programs.

* The Film Office would be eliminated, decimating the state's film industry.

* The bill to ban local laws that require prevailing wages.

* A bill that requires teaching the portions of the US and Michigan constitutions that mention religion.

New Michigan Tea Party representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat apparently liked the speed at which Snyder signed the adoption bills. So they've proposed a few more.

* Only straight couples may marry without publicity (no secret weddings for gays).

* Clergy is defined as "a minister of the Gospel, cleric, or religious practitioner."

* All marriages must be performed by clergy.

Translation: Marriage becomes the property of religion. To get married a couple must go to the church. And if the church doesn't think you should get married, well, too bad.

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