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October 08, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-08

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4A - Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

c 1 l e mchloan 4:3ally


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Redefining marriage
Michigan should follow trend of support for same-sex unions
A nother state has begun to question its discriminatory ban
on same-sex marriage this week - unfortunately, it's not
Michigan. On Oct. 1, a Texas district judge ruled that
Texas's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution,
the first ruling of its kind in the state. This ruling is part of a
growing trend among judicial bodies to rule in favor of same-sex
marriage and in favor of a basic human right. Moving forward,
state legislatures should be more active in the process of revers-
ing the blatantly discriminatory bans, and Michigan's must be
among them.

.i s



First come, first seated

On October 1, Texas District Judge Tena
Callahan ruled that two men married in
Massachusetts could legally dissolve their
marriage in Texas because the Constitution
dictates "full faith and credit shall be given
in each state to the public acts, records and
judicial proceedings of every other state."
In other words, a marriage conducted in
one state should be recognized in all others.
Judge Callahan further held that the state's
ban on gay marriage violates the Constitu-
tion. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
is attempting to have the case overturned
by higher courts in order to defend the "tra-
ditional definition of marriage" that was
approved by 75 percent of the voters when
the constitutional ban was enacted.
Such a definition of marriage is mor-
ally backward and actively discriminatory
toward gay people. Gay relationships are
just as loving and valid as heterosexual
relationships, and for any law to pretend
otherwise amounts to a tragic failing of
justice. The fact that this injustice has'
been pushed onto most of the country by
a hateful, socially conservative minority is
fundamentally wrong and requires imme-
diate corrective action in state and nation-
al courts and legislative bodies.
Thankfully, Texas is not the first state
to revisit these bans, and instead comes
at a time when gay rights are beginning to

gain a measure of support from favorable
court rulings and occasional legislative
decisions. Massachusetts, Iowa, Con-
necticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and
Maine have all legalized same-sex mar-
riage. The District of Columbia City Coun-
cil also recently introduced legislation to
allow same-sex marriage. With any hope,
this emerging climate of tolerance her-
alds a shift from the culture that gave us
the despicable Defense of Marriage Act of
1996, which defined marriage as between
one man and one woman.
But while countless states are reconsid-
ering their discriminatory laws toward
LGBT people, gay marriage remains ille-
gal in Michigan thanks to a constitutional
amendment in 2009. The longer Michigan
waits to join the changing tide in favor of
gay marriage, the longer it must stand, dis-
graced, in the shadow of its ignorance on
this issue. And with any hope, when the
change does come, it will be the result of
deliberate action on the part of 'alegisla-
ture unafraid to tell the voters of Michigan
that it supports same-sex marriage and the
equality of all people beforethe, law.-,
The immoral crusade to ban same-sex
marriage has turned gay couples into sec-
ond-class citizens. Michigan must join the
trend and end its discriminatory marriage
laws withqut equivocation.

y trip toEast Lansing this
weekend gave me a lot to
dislike about the green
and white. Their
campus is point- '4
lessly vast and des-
olate. They have a.
strange obsession '
with Busch Light,
and that drainage'
ditch they call the
Red Cedar kind of
But there is one CHRIS
thing right about KOSLOWSKI
Spartan football
Saturdays. Though
Michigan's stu-
dent section triumphs over Michigan
State's in style, tradition and nowvol-
ume, the Spartans' way of seating stu-
dents is superior to ours. At Michigan
Stadium, this method could eliminate
many headaches for fans and end the
current haphazard seating delegation
system. Even though I'm having a
hard time convincing myself that giv-
ing up my personal piece of the Big
House would be a good idea, I still
think Michigan should make its stu-
dent section first come, first dibs.
While I waited for my season
tickets to arrive this summer, I
was ecstatic. Finally, as a senior, I
wouldn't need supplemental oxygen
to stave off hypoxia as I watched
maize and blue ants scurry about
from my lofty perch above row 80.
With "low" hopes, I tore open my
envelope and promptly lost much of
my faith in humanity. Section 30, row
40, just halfway down the bowl.
I don't know why I'm not sitting
pretty in row 15 like I had always
dreamed. Did I apply too late? Were
too many people in my seating group?
Too few? Had all those people in rows
1-39 amassed more credits than I did,

or was I just unlucky? I'm sure many
students are thrilled with their seem:
ingly arbitrarily determined seats,
but as an obvious loser in that draw-
ing, frankly, I'm peeved.
In most stadiums, including the
remainder of Michigan Stadium, the
more you're willing to pay, the bet-
ter seats you have. Staggering the
seating price in the student section
might raise the chance of obtaining
desirable seats for those who have
the cash, but the price difference
between the upper and lower rows
would have to be massive to make a
reasonable impact on which section
students would choose. Also, raising
some student section tickets above
$25 would prevent many students on
a limited budget from attending the
The simplest solution is also the
fairest - make the student section
first come, first served. Michigan
could open a designated waiting sec-
tion on Friday before game day and
award the diehards who arrive early
their choice of seats. As less crazed
students file in hours before kickoff,
they simply sit in the best open seat
they see. Michigan State does it, and
it works.
The benefits are plestiful. If I real-
ly wanted to sit in the front row dur-
ing the Ohio State game, I could, but
I better plan on bringing my camping
gear. The desire to snag good seats
would give me another motivation to
wake up earlier and, naturally, party
earlier. Any excuse for that is good
by me. Best of all, the student section
would be forever purged of latecom-
ers whining about their occupied
I can't stress enough what a joy this
would be. It's incredible how so many
people are astonished when they
stumble into the stadium at the end of

the first quarter and find their seats
taken. Nothing disrupts the game
more than the inevitable arguments,
and often belligerency, that follows.
With thousands of students cram-
ming into bleachers with no seat
backs, it's too easy for someone to
migrate away from their assigned
seat. All it takes is one wanderer and
one jackass to start a chain reaction
with the potential to ruin the game
experience of many. First come, first
served would end that. People may
worry about the potential of over-
Spartan Stadium
seating has a one-up
on the Big House.
crowding in the more popular rows.
Well, come talk to me during the Penn
State game and I'll show you that it's
already a problem ... in row 40!
I'm not naive. I know that if I had
a better seat this year, I probably
wouldn't be complaining. I'd also be
a fool if I didn't admit that I enjoy
taking my seat - usually without
problems - just moments before Blue
runs under the MClub banner. But
the more I think about it, the more
first come, first served seating makes
sense to me. The Athletic Department
should seriously consider the shift,
even if only as an experiment.
In the meantime, if everyone in
rows 38-42 could arrive at the next
game before kickoff, that would be
- Chris Koslowski can be
reached at cskoslow@umich.edu.

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty, Emma Jeszke,
Raghu Kainkaryam, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Harsha Panduranga,
Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith
Seeking solutions in Palestine

Since his address to the Muslim world from
Cairo, Egypt, President Barack Obama has
called on Israel to halt settlement construction
in the West Bank, rightfully identifying the
expansion of Israel's illegal settlements as one
of the primary roadblocks to peace. But under
the leadership of right-wing politician Benjamin
Netanyahu, Israelhas rebuffed Obama'srequest,
claiming a "fundamental right" to expand exist-
ing settlements and, in some instances, grant
new building permits to Jewish settlers.
For years, Israel has blamed Arab intransi-
gence for the failure of past peace initiatives and
processes. To this day, Israel has yet to compel
itself to come to terms with what its existence
has meant for the Palestinian people. Since 1947,
Arab Palestinians - Christians and Muslims -
have been the victims of forced dispossession,
dislocation, a brutal military occupation and an
overall denial of their basic right to exercise self-
determination. The majority of Palestinians are
now a scattered people, living mostly in squalid
refugee camps throughout the West Bank, Gaza
Strip, Syria; Lebanon and Jordan; under an
unforgiving Israeli military occupation in the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank; or as second-
class citizens of Israel. Yet, there is hope.
Following Israel's bombardment of the Gaza
Strip last winter, 1,400 Palestinians were killed
in under 23 days,with the majority civilians
and a significant proportion of children. Orga-
nizations and people of conscience have stood
up in defense of the human rights of Palestin-
ians. The United Nations recently conducted
a massive fact-finding mission titled "Human
Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab
Territories:Report of the United Nations Fact
Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict." This
575-page report outlines, in meticulous detail,
Israel's numerous human rights abuses against
the Palestinians, including, but not limited to,
Israel's ongoing illegal blockade and siege of the
Gaza Strip; attacks on government buildings
and police forces last winter; indiscriminate
attacks by Israeli armed forces last winter that
resulted in the intense loss of life and injury to
civilians; Israel's use of phosphorous munitions
in contravention of internationally recognized
rules of war; and, most disturbingly, Israel's use
of Palestinian civilians as human shields when
conducting raids. The report also criticized the
behavior of Hamas guerillas, specifically when
it came to the reckless launching of homemade

rockets into southern Israel. Interestingly
enough, neither the United Nations nor Amnes-
ty International were able to find any evidence
that Hamas guerillas, or any other Palestinian
militants, used Palestinian civilians as human
shields during last winter's conflict. This was
something Israel repeatedly claimed last win-
ter as Palestinian civilians were dying by the
dozens at the hands of the Israeli "Defense"
Although the United States and Israel have
tried to discredit the findings of the United
Nations report, such claims are unfounded and
are not based on any sort of legitimate criti-
cismi of the report's actual substance. Accord-
ing to Israel and the United States, the report
is biased against Israel because it details Israeli
war crimes and calls for Israel to hold its lead-
ers accountable. We encourage you to read the
report for yourself.
Additionally on Capitol Hill, two new lobby
groups, J Street and the American Association
for Palestinian Equal Rights, have formed with
the explicit intention of changing Washington's
role in the Middle East. Both organizations have
recognized that the time has come for the Unit-
ed States to function as a truly impartial media-
tor between Israel and the Palestinians instead
of as a dishonest broker that supports Israel
As students at an institution of higher edu-
cation, it is no longer appropriate for us to stay
silent as Israel continues to prioritize its own
security needs over fundamental Palestin-
ian rights. Israel is no more secure today than
it was 61 years ago when its creation resulted
in the displacement of 750,000 Arab Palestin-
ians. Israel actually undermines its own secu-
rity when it arbitrarily imposes curfews in the
West Bank and denies the Gaza Strip of much-
needed medical supplies. The question now is
what we can do to help contribute to a just and
sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict - one that protects the basic human
rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Tomorrow, Students Allied for Freedom
and Equality begins a two-day conference to
address these issues. The conference is sched-
uled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in 150 Hutchins Hall,
and is free for students.
Mike Sayre is the media chair of Students
Allied for Freedom and Equality.

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity
and accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu


n a recent pleasant fall day, I
walked to class through the
Diag only to be disrupted by
raucous, odious
sermons emanating
from an insane so-
called messenger of
Christ. My experi-
ence isn't an isolat-
ed one. The Diag is
regularly abused by
religious extrem-
ists in order to pro-H
mote their beliefs HARSHA
in an uncouth and PANDURANGA
hateful manner.
These religious
extremists should be banned from
preaching on campus because they
are in clear violation of the official
discrimination policies put in place
by the University to ensure that stu-
dents live in a welcoming and hospi-
table environment.
Undoubtedly, religious freedom
is vital to an accepting environment
on any college campus. But there is a
discernible difference between hate-
spewing preachers on the Diag and
student organizations such as the
Campus Crusade for Christ and Mus-
lim Student Association, which pro-
mote an inclusive environment while
proliferating their message. They
have respect and tolerance for others'
beliefs. The University is an excellent
place to become accustomed to the
unfamiliar, and religion is no excep-
tion - but many Diag preachers don't
contribute anything even remotely
conducive to a healthy exchange of
information on campus.
Certain hate-filled Diag preach-

ers are irritating and offensive - but
this isn't enough to propose ban-
ning them from University property.
Free speech is protected to a certain
extent on campus, as it should be.
Excerpts from the University State-
ment on Freedom of Speech and
Artistic Expression state: "Expres-
sion of diverse points of view is of the
highest importance... the belief that
an opinion is pernicious, false, or in
any other way detestable cannot be
grounds for its suppression."
This portion of the University's
policy seems to be tolerant of the
preachers' diatribes. But these evan-
gelists take their messages a step
too far and violate the discrimina-
tion and harassment codes. They
are an example of lax enforcement
of the codes, since their words are
clear examples of "bias incidents" on
campus. Bias incidents are defined as
"non-criminal activities that harm
another because of that person's race,
color, national origin or ancestry,
sex, gender identity or expression,
sexual orientation, disability, age,
religion, height, weight, marital sta-
tus and veteran status." Protections
against bias and discrimination exist
for a good reason - campus without
those rules may become an uninvit-
ing atmosphere for both current and
potential students.
The Diag evangelists regularly
hurl verbal abuses that are clearly
defined as "bias incidents" at passers-
by. For example, one can often hear
plentiful examples of clear anti-ho-
mosexual rhetoric as well as religious
intolerance like, "homosexuality is a
sin, you're going to Hell," or, "accept

Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior
or be subject to eternal damnation!"
These types of incidents, which at
least qualify as "insulting comments"
based on sexual orientation and reli-
gion - apart from being simply base-
less and offensive - are what should
qualify as bias rather than the jok-
ing profanity often scrawled on dry-
erase boards in the residence halls.
This enforcement of the bias rules is
inconsistent and asinine.
Why preaching on
the Diag should
be put to rest.
Banning the preachers would be
aligned with the University's inter-
ests of protecting its students from
sources of discomfort on campus -
especially since the Diag is a loca-
tion universally frequented by the
student population. Hateful religious
sermonizers can preach away on city
property, but they have no place at
the University. Any action taken to
prevent them from speaking could
only strengthen religious dialogue on
campus. Let's put into effect the rules
that were designed to protect us on
campus, President Coleman: no more
hateful soapbox drama on the Diag. I
know I'm not the only one offended.
- Harsha Panduranga can be
reached at harshap@umich.edu.

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