The below letter was written by Kent Love-Ramirez in response to an opinion piece featured in Michigan’s Grand Rapids Business Journal.
The article outlines how Michigan officials seek diverse talent while simultaneously making their state unwelcoming to people from diverse communities. Currently Michigan has a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage and does not allow same-sex couples to share custody of their children. Kent Love-Ramirez shares how this has affected his family.
I read with interest your recent article titled “The Importance of Being Welcoming to All.” I want to thank you for shaping the issue with such simple eloquence. I also want to thank you for your remarks in Bridge Magazine‘s recent article “Are Michigan’s restrictions on gay and abortion rights holding state back?,” which spotlights my family’s plight. Michigan business leaders and policy makers would be wise to heed your words. It is not just rhetoric, but reality for many families like mine.
I was born and raised in the Great Lakes State. I truly love Michigan. I graduated from Michigan State University, and I have been gainfully employed, primarily in the non-profit sector, for 20+ years. My husband is a pilot for Delta Air Lines. We have a combined household income well above the state median. Until recently, we were community-minded, deeply engaged citizens who owned a home in the capital city and freely gave our time and money for the betterment of our city and state.
Yet, two months ago, we made the difficult decision to leave our family and friends, and move to Minnesota with our young adopted son. We now are building a life in a safer, more welcoming environment, where our marriage and joint parentage are recognized by the state. This was the primary reason for our decision to leave Michigan.
It saddens me to see Michigan choosing the wrong path. How unfortunate that my family and I were welcomed by President Obama for last year’s annual Father’s Day luncheon in the White House State Room, yet we didn’t feel welcome in our home state of Michigan. Based on our experience alone, you should conclude your essay with “it IS certain that Minnesota’s ability to retain and attract talent is helped by its welcoming policies.” We are proof positive of that fact.
My husband and I closely are watching efforts to put Michigan on the right path toward economic and social prosperity. We look forward to the day when Michigan is more welcoming to talent of all shapes and forms and colors and ethnicities, including the LGBT community. I am a Michigander at heart, and likely always will be, but for the foreseeable future, I make my home and spend my money in Minnesota.