Ann Arbor's gay community holding rally to discuss next steps in fight for equality
Members of Ann Arbor's gay community plan to rally Wednesday afternoon in the wake of two important U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage.
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
The high court Wednesday morning struck down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples in states that allow same-sex unions. It is also expected to rule on California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
The Ann Arbor group is planning to gather to discuss the implications of the rulings, as well as their next steps in the fight for equality.
"There will be some celebration, and probably some mourning," said Sandi Smith, an openly gay business owner and president of the Jim Toy Community Center.
Smith said the event promises to offer local analysis of what the rulings mean to Michiganders, including the future of the state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage.
"Michigan's going to be left with some gaps to fill at a minimum, so we're going to have a variety of speakers — some attorneys and local dignitaries — that can share their perspective," she said.
"Even if marriage was made across-the-board legal, it's still legal to discriminate against people even if they're perceived to be gay — someone can refuse you service in a restaurant or an apartment. So those pieces are still missing. There's still discrimination against the LGBT population."
State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, will be speaking at the rally at 5:15 p.m. He said he plans to talk about the next steps toward marriage equality in Michigan, highlighting the marriage equality legislative package he helped sponsor this week in the Michigan House.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.