We’ve talked the talk, now let’s walk the walk

By Postie Editors

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral hearings on three high profile human rights issues — Proposition 8, the Defense of Marriage Act and Affirmative Action.

If you were anywhere close to the Internet during the week, you probably saw a bit of information about them — mainly in the form of small, red equal signs on your Facebook newsfeed.

Proposition 8, a piece of California legislation from 2008, strictly defines marriage. “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” the document reads. While Proposition 8 was overturned in 2010, the case has been appealed and challenged multiple times. It now sits before the Supreme Court.

The Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996, recognizes only opposite-sex marriages. Same-sex couples are denied government benefits such as insurance, Social Security and the ability to file joint tax returns as a married couple.

The Supreme Court is also reviewing a Michigan ballot proposal that would ban racial preference when it comes to university admissions. The 2006 bill passed with a 58 percent majority, but an appeals court struck down the section on higher education.

Naturally, people turned to the Internet and social media to show their support — or lack thereof. People of all ages changed their Facebook profile photos in either support or opposition of the same-sex marriage laws — this is where those equal signs we mentioned come in. Others took their stance through heated political debates, status updates or Tweets.

While it is encouraging to see heated debate on such monumental issues, it’s one thing to talk the talk, but now’s the time to walk the walk.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, Voting and Registration, only 58.5 percent of American citizens aged 18-24 vote in major elections.

Similarly, only 66.4 percent of citizens between the ages of 25 and 34 vote.

These numbers are way too low compared to the 76.6 percent of voters aged 75 or older who visit the polls every election.

The issues currently at hand are those which directly affect our generation. This fact and the age-old sentiment that one day our age group will be running the country should be enough motivation to take action.

Changing a photo or creating a status is one thing, but getting involved requires much more work.

If you really want to create change, there are multiple things you can do. Join an organization and go to meetings, write letters to your congressmen or participate in a local peaceful protest.

Foundations like Equality Michigan are always looking for more help. Donate or go to an event to help raise awareness and push to change laws. As their website www.equalitymi.org says, “Don’t change yourself, change the law.”

You can even stay closer to home and work with groups on campus. Student resources like the Gender and Sexuality Center are an excellent place to start.


The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.