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October 29, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-29

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4A - Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

l e ticl igan il


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 oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
Doing the right thing
Senate should not delay passing Good Samaritan policy
W hen drinking laws actively criminalize people who
are doing the right thing, there's a problem. Thank-
fully, the "Good Samaritan" bill passed through the
state House of Representatives last week, paving the way for a
more reasonable law. This policy - which would exempt under-
age drinkers who call for help for intoxicated friends from receiv-
ing minor in possession charges - is something college campuses
need. The state Senate should pass the bill so that students who
might be hesitant to dial 911 during an emergency will no longer
have to fear penalties for being responsible.

Marriage is all a bout love


State Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor)
originally introduced her "Good Samari-
tan" bill in March in response to concerns
that underage drinkers in need of medical
attention were going without it because
they feared getting MIPs. The bill would
amend the Michigan Liquor Control Code
and guarantee that intoxicated minors
will not receive an MIP charge for bring-
ing a friend to the hospital in the event of
an emergency. Brater's bill finally passed
the state House of Representatives last
week. It now heads to the Senate.
Regardless of one's personal feelings
about drinking laws, passage of the Good
Samaritan policy should be a no-brainer.
Upholding the letter of the law shouldn't
be prioritized over people's safety - the
lives of underage drinkers are much more
important. And while no one should hesi-
tate in an emergency, the fact that a medi-
cal emergency could be ignored because
of the fear of legal repercussions should
be enough to pass this bill as soon as pos-
Department of Public Safety spokes-
woman Diane Brown expressed unease
with the bill, saying that a possible MIP
shouldn't be a significant barrier to doing,
the right thing. But the fact is that the
threat of MIPs do impact students' choic-
es when put in the situation of whether
to call 911 or not. And while MIPs can, in

some cases, be removed from the records
of first-time offenders who undergo coun-
seling programs, students don't want to
deal with the impact that these conse-
quences - fines, court appearances and
the possibility of probation - can have on
their classes, extracurricular activities
and jobs. State law needs an exception that
allows underage drinkers to call for help
even if they have been drinking.
The fact that this bill is now closer to
implementation means that some thanks
are in order. In addition to Brater's sup-
port of this bill, the Michigan Student
Assembly endorsed the bill and wrote a
letter to legislators urging them to pass it.
And according to multiple sources cited
by MSA Business Rep. Alex Serwer in
yesterday's Daily, the letter "held great
significance in the House Judiciary Com-
mittee's proceedings." If this bill becomes
law, it will make the drinking climate on
campus much safer, and MSA will have
contributed in a meaningful way toward
improving the lives of University stu-
Alcohol-related emergencies shouldn't
go untreated or unnoticed because stu-
dents are afraidtof the~legal implications,.
The state Senate must pass the Good
Samaritan bill and do some good for
underage drinkers who want to make the
right decision in emergency situations.

his past Saturday, as halftime
was just beginning at the Big
House, I took my place in a
row of tuxedo-clad
groomsmensat my
brother's wedding.
The ceremony was
held in the atrium
of a gorgeous hotel,
with a sweeping
ceiling and foli-
age all around us.
And, to my sur-
prise, diners at the MATTHEW
adjoining hotel GREEN
bistro were able to
watch the wedding
from across a small
reflection pond.
I glanced at these curiously close
restaurant patrons from time to time
throughout the ceremony. Mostly
businessmen and hurried travelers,
they seemed uninterested in the wed-
ding at first. But as the service went
on, each became slowly transfixed
on the glowing bride and groom.
By the vows, some were apparently
even tearing up. The invited guests
were visibly moved, and I, of course,
started to cry the moment the bride
first appeared. Yet I was profoundly
astonished by the awed reactions of
the people in the restaurant.
I wondered how they could pos-
sibly be so moved to cry and cheer
at the sight of a stranger's wedding.
Their sentiments, obviously unre-
lated to any personal connection to
the~ bridal party, seemed~tn exem-
plify a collective awe at the institu-
tion of marriage. And in seeing this,
it finally hit me exactly how beautiful
marriage really is. Sure, a wedding is
supposed to make a person feel that
way. But while I could recognize that

my brother's marriage may not be as
smooth and perfect as his wedding
ceremony, I was awestruck by the
ceremony's affirmation of love ever-,
The bride and groom's commit-
ment is something I can only hope I
may one day create with someone in
my own life. I often think about even-
tually getting married, but as a gay
man, I have a hunch it may be diffi-
cult as long as the law forbids it. With
the legality of same-sex marriage up
in the air, this wedding experience
made it clearer for me that while it
seems all but ignored in the current
debate, love should be the obvious
bottom line. Forget silly notions like
equality for a moment. Maybe same-
sex marriages should be allowed
solely because they're rooted in love
between two committed adults.
As is the case with so many hot-
button issues, the current debate has
become a war of words, removed from
what's really at stake. I think people
sometimes forget that what they're
people experience the most beautiful
thing in life. I will never understand
how an expression of commitment
and caring could possibly be a disad-
vantage forsociety. Same-sexrelation-
ships may not be rooted in Western
tradition, but that doesn't somehow
make them a threat to this realm.
Nor will I understand how anyone
could be offended by two people's
desire to be a little less alone in this
world. Those who igse the Bible_
to bolster their blindness miss the
big picture. They dwell on contrived
verses here and there, taking for
granted the love and commitment
shared by Abraham and Sarah, for
instance, or Moses and Zipporah.

They entirely ignore the beautiful
and erotic Song of Solomon, essen-
tially an extended love poem, which
comprises an entire book of the Bible.
And when they do see these illustra-
tions of love and loyalty, they view
them two-dimensionally, between
a man and a woman. But the literal
sexuality of these Biblical characters
is irrelevant. Comprehending that
Isaac was a man and Rebekah was a
woman is less important than valu-
ing the love and dedication between
them. The Bible ought to be consid-
ered an ethical model, not a primitive
sex-ed pamphlet. Those who dwell on
the biblical definition of "sexual per-
version" are missing the point of the
bigger themes within the Bible.
Same-sex unions
possess that same
crucial quality.
As the battle over same-sex mar-
riage continues in the courts, I don't
care aboutofferingany furtherlogical
rationale for its legalization. Need-
less to say, love is not logical. Though
there are surely rational grounds for
its support, the need to legalize gay
marriage must first be realized in the
hearts of Americans. This weekend's
wedding reminded me that though
marriage j partlyabout"signijg a
contract, it is mostly a show of love.
And in the debate over gay marriage,
we should remember that.
- Matthew Green can be reached
at greenmat@umich.edu.

The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed, passionate
writers to join the Editorial Board. Editorial Board members
are responsible for discussing and writing the editorials
that appear on the left side of the opinion page.

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



Selection of convention
delegates undemocratic
The University's leading role in defend-
ing diversity and academic freedom has
placed our campus in the national spot-
light. Our student body, starting with its
elected student leaders, has historically
led the nation in mobilizing students to
participate in key domestic and interna-
tional policies, not only for the universi-
ties but for the nation. We led Ivy League
schools and other prestigious American
institutions when we mobilized more than
50,000 people to successfully defend our
university's affirmative action policies at
the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.
Following the state of Michigan's 2006
constitutional amendment banning affir-
mative action, our elected student leaders
should uphold the principles of diversity,
democracy, student rights, intellectual
freedom and debate. The current leader-
ship of the Michigan Student Assembly is
violating these principles by undermining
basic democracy in the selection of dele-
gates to a proposed constitutional conven-
tion. The current constitution requires
that delegates be elected to any constitu-
tional convention. But under the current
plan, the MSA President would handpick
the delegates based on an application and
interview process.
This policy is completely unconsti-
tutional and undemocratic. It would
effectively reduce the diversity of ideas
represented at the convention and make it
even more difficult for minority students
to be represented. This kind of selection
process for a constitutional convention
could allow the convention to amend
MSA's current constitution in such a way
that the document restricts democracy
and silences debate. The current executive
board of MSA has already proposed anti-

democratic measures and failed to win
anti-democratic constitutional reforms.
This is simply an attempt to win through
the back door what they could not achieve
in a democratically elected representative
A constitutional convention must
include an open election to represent
the diverse interests of our student body.
Any amendments to our constitution that
come out of this kind of an undemocratic
process cannot be taken seriously by the
student body and will have no legitimacy.
We cannot allow the power and scope of
our central student government to be nar-
rowed and diminished by a few leaders
who fear an open debate and transpar-
ent discussion of issues that matter most
to students. Meaningful improvements in
the lives of students are less likely to occur
if democracy is curtailed.
It is becoming a common practice in
American politics to establish anti-dem-
ocratic regimes to attack the foundations
of public education. At a moment when so
much of the campus wants to stop more
tuition increases, streamline the finan-
cial aid system and fight for increasing the
amount of federal stimulus package fund-
ing earmarked for higher education, it is
unacceptable for the MSA president to be
leading the charge to shut down student
democracy. This is especially troubling
when the likely outcome of this policy
will be to suppress the democratic rights
of progressive, activist students and orga-
nizations, which should play a leading role
in the mobilization needed to win victo-
ries for students.
Only students can provide the leader-
ship needed to put the University back
on the road toward progress and equal-
ity. MSA's attempt to block democratic
decision making must be ended now. If a
constitutional convention is to occur, so
must open and fair delegate election. In
less than a month, elections for MSA rep-
resentatives will take place. Convention
delegate elections could be held then to

save the time and the expense that hold-
ing a separate convention delegate elec-
tion would incur.
Kate Stenvig
Rackham representative to MSA
MSA fairly determined
convention delegates
As recently reported in the Daily, the
Michigan Student Assembly is prepar-
ing to hold a constitutional convention to
rewrite the document that governs the
operations of MSA, student organizations
and to an extent, the student body (MSA
invites students to revise student constitu-
tion, 10/12/2009). While on the surface
this seems like another useless endeavor
by MSA, the current all-campus constitu-
tion, written 23 years ago, does not meet
the needs of a 21st century student body. A
rewrite is imperative to modernize the gov-
ernance of the students of this campus for
today and for the future.
While many students see the value and
importance of modernizing our constitu-
tion, there remain individuals, some of
whom sit on MSA, tryingtoundermine this
convention in an effort to further their own
political agendas. They question the legiti-
macy of this convention by calling it undem-
ocratic and charging that it will suppress
the views of minorities.
Racializing this issue and labeling it an
attack on democratic rights is a sideshow
andunderminestheverydemocratic princi-
ples these individuals claim to protect. The
true attack on the democratic rights of the
student body do not stem from the consti-
tutional convention, but rather from those
trying to block the actions of the democrati-
cally elected student assembly.
Earlier this semester, the assembly

unanimously approved the selection pro- V~ ewoint'
cedure for delegates to the convention. The
procedure called for the democratically A FA extrer
elected MSA president to appoint delegates
to this convention. Is it undemocratic when
people voice their will through elections?
Every representative who approved this TO THE DAILY:
procedure, as well as the president tasked Alex Schiff's ret
with carrying it out, was elected by the stu- gay marriage ac
dent body. This process gives MSA the abil- (AFA has extremet
ity to make decisions such as who should 10/27/2009). Thank
serve as a delegate to the convention and pointing out the h
how these delegates are selected. What's riage Protection At
even more interesting about this debate is misleading wordin
that the individuals who claim this process democratic ideals.
to be undemocratic had a chance to voice I would also like
their opinion, but they chose not to when Glenn and others w
they had the chance to object. To raise these have close friends a
objections now is simply irresponsible. - yet out of the closet
Furthermore, the delegates selected for from our society t
this convention represent a cross-section of from the norm -
the student body. It is a diverse group, rep- diversity. If Glenn
resenting different parts of campus, student 100 percent of theit
organizations, backgrounds, races and ide- bastion of morality!
ologies. One would be hard-pressed to find are mistaken.
a more diverse group of students to rewrite
this important document. To frame the Eric Sauck
diversity argument solely on race ignores Engineering senior
the numerous other forms of diversity that
are present on this campus. Each of these
should have and do have a voice at the con-
Finally, for those who still believe that
this process is undemocratic, let us not LETTERS TO
forget that the delegates who wrote our Readers are enc
country's great Constitution were also not
elected. Last I checked, those delegates did letters to the edit
a pretty good job preserving democratic less than 300 wor
ideals. the writer's full n
As MSA prepares for this important con-
stitutional convention, it is important that affiliation. Letters
it remains focused on its task of serving length, clarity an
the students. It's time for everyone to set
aside their own personal agendas and work missions become
together toward writing an important doc- We do not print<
ument for the students of the University. Send letters to to
John Lin
LSA representative to MSA _

scriticism of
nely valid
cent response to anti-
tivists was spot-on
views on family values,
k you for intelligently
hypocrisy of the Mar-
mendment and how its
g is contradictory to
to point out that Gary
ith similar views likely
nd family who are not
, often due to pressure
hat opposes deviation
otherwise known as
and friends think that
r social networks are a
(as they define it), they

ouraged to submit
or.Letters should be
rds and must include
ame and University
s are edited for style,
d accuracy. All sub-
property of the Daily.
anonymous letters.


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