GOP-led Michigan Senate again derails LGBTQ+ Pride resolution

Shirkey wanted language added that ‘not every citizen in Michigan agrees with the lifestyle of the LGBT community’

By: - June 14, 2022 4:28 pm

Michigan Pride | Angela Demas

For the second time in as many weeks, Republican leaders in the Michigan Senate have delayed a vote on a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The GOP majority originally postponed consideration on June 7 of Senate Resolution 149, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), the first openly gay senator in Michigan. No reason was given, nor was a timeline on when it might be taken up again.

On Tuesday, Moss again sought to bring the measure to the floor. When Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) attempted to refer it to the Government Operations Committee, where bills typically go to die, Democrats objected, noting that the resolution was passed by the Senate last year.

Nesbitt, saying the objection was not proper, obtained a party line vote concurring that it was not valid. After some procedural issues were resolved, Moss took to the floor to question why GOP leaders were actively thwarting a resolution they passed just the year before.

Jeremy Moss | Susan J. Demas

“The Republican leadership regresses and again throws Pride Month back into the trash heap,” said Moss. “I guess the cruelty is the point. There are LGBTQ people like me in all sectors of Michigan economy who only wish to contribute, be good neighbors and not have the government interfere with their freedom to live their lives.”

Moss also said Republicans were choosing to exploit divisiveness, noting that in 2022 they had called people “groomers” and protested drag queens. 

The reference was to recent attempts by some GOP senators to fundraise off of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks, including Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) naming Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) in an April email that appeared to accuse her of “grooming” children because she supports LGBTQ+ rights. McMorrow responded in a floor speech calling the baseless accusations “hateful.” The video that went viral and won the praise of leaders like President Joe Biden.

In the end, Moss said the fact GOP leaders wouldn’t even consider adopting his resolution “says a lot more about you than it does about us.”

In a statement, Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said he had made suggestions to Moss he believed would make the resolution “more reflective of the diversity of opinions in the Senate.” Shirkey said when they couldn’t reach an agreement, the resolution was sent to committee. 

However, Moss told reporters that Shirkey had sought to change not just the language of his resolution, but its meaning, as well. 

In addition to proposing to remove language about the “slow and insufficient” government response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, Moss said Shirkey wanted to add a disclaimer that would have said: “Though not every citizen in Michigan agrees with the lifestyle of the LGBT community, it is agreed that every life is special, precious, unique and loved by the the creator, and each person is created in God’s image.”

Polling has shown that almost three-quarters of Michigan voters support anti-discrimination legislation for LGBTQ+ people. 

Moss says he refused to add the language to the resolution as it implied being gay is a choice.

Moss’ resolution was eventually referred to the Government Operations Committee.

Michigan LGBTQ community still waiting for business leaders to step up

Moss had attempted twice before, in 2019 and 2020, to get the resolution passed before finally achieving success in 2021, as the Advance previously reported. 

The resolution noted the struggle of the LGBTQ+ movement with a “slow and insufficient government response to assist those with HIV/AIDS and the ongoing effort today to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community,” as well the victories including “the historic Obergefell decision in 2015 which affirmed marriage equality nationwide and the recent Bostock decision in 2020 that upheld federal employment protections for the LGBTQ community.”

The Obergefell decision in particular is believed to be in jeopardy of being overturned if the U.S.Supreme Court rules against Roe v. Wade, as is expected later this month.

June was first recognized federally as Pride Month in 1999 by then-President Bill Clinton. Biden has formally declared June as Pride Month. 

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also has declared June 2022 as Pride Month. The resolution notes that “Michigan is home to an estimated 373,000 residents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+)” and “Michigan’s LGBTQ+ residents contribute to the fabric of our society, hold positions across sectors of our economy, and live in every corner of our state.”

The Senate later adjourned for the day, but not before approving a resolution by Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) commemorating “the 68th anniversary of the addition of the words ‘under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.”

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.