LANSING, Mich. — For the first time in its history, the Michigan Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month.
The Senate, has a Republican majority, approved the resolution introduced by Sen. Jeremy Moss by voice vote on Thursday. A voice vote means that no tally was recorded on who voted in support or opposition of the resolution.
All 16 Democratic members of the Senate signed onto the resolution as sponsors. They were joined by two members of the Republican party. Moss is the Senate’s first and only openly gay member.
“Representation matters,” Moss said in his remarks after the passage of his resolution. “Representation matters at this state Capitol. Just as every LGBTQ person has made an impact in their communities by just living their authentic selves.”
For Stef Shuster, a professor of sociology at Michigan State University, the symbolic nature of recognizing Pride Month is significant.
“So I think from a symbolic perspective that the state itself is recognizing a month that is really important for LGBTQ people,” Shuster said. “It reflects, I think, a little bit of a shift in how legislators are perceiving the importance of recognizing and celebrating members of the LGBTQ community.”
Moss’ resolution in the Senate is not his first attempt to recognize Pride Month. He put forward unsuccessful resolutions in 2019 and 2020.
Shuster noted the Senate’s resolution comes at “an interesting moment,” in the United States as debates over LGBTQ rights and especially trans rights are front and center.
“I think this year there have been more anti-LGBTQ bills introduced at the state level, even here in Michigan,” Shuster said. “And so I think a lot of people are concerned about the backlash against LGBTQ people.”
This has already been a banner year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in statehouses across the country. According to the Human Rights Campaign, eight bills targeting the LGBTQ community have already been enacted into law and another 10 are expected to pass soon.
Moss said that there are controversial bills coming up for a vote in the Michigan Senate, among them a bill that would ban transgender students from playing on high school sports teams that do not align with their sex at birth.
“We will soon be faced with some monumental decisions here affecting the LGBTQ community in the state of Michigan,” he said. “I do hope that this statement today that LGBTQ lives are valid and contribute culturally, civically and economically to the state of Michigan is a sign of increased willingness to learn from our lived experiences, even though they may not be your own.”
Although this week’s resolution is symbolic, Shuster said, “I see this as a small step and any step is significant and important."
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