Trust me when I say the world won't spin off its axis because of the Supreme Court's rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 in California. Mark it down, however, as a great day for equality.
The justices threw out major sections of DOMA and tossed back to the lower courts the California issue where the lower court ruled Proposal 8 was unconstitutional. Same-sex marriages could resume in California in about a month.
The rulings did, however, grant equality to those who have married in some states when it comes to federal benefits and the way they are treated. If a same-sex couple is married they are now free to enjoy the benefits of a "regular" married couple in terms of the federal government.
They won't have to pay estate taxes because they are now "married." They can file a "married filing jointly" tax return. They can receive other federal benefits accorded to all married couples.
They will be, thankfully, equal citizens under the law.
That is fair and now is the law of the land. To those who claim they will work their magic and get a new DOMA passed as part of the Constitution, please save your time, money and energy. You're on the wrong side of history, if not in the instant moment, then going forward.
Rolling, rolling, rolling
Imagine that, a non-motorized trail from Traverse City to Charlevoix!
The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning to meet with governmental and private entities along the route to see where a route could go. The goal would be to connect the Little Traverse Wheelway that runs from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix, to the Traverse Area Recreation Trail (TART) in Traverse City.
The plan envisions segments of Traverse City to Elk Rapids, Elk Rapids to Eastport and then Eastport to Charlevoix. MDOT would be the facilitator and not necessarily the funding mechanism for the trail.
Last year Gov. Rick Snyder proposed building a trail system so vast that one could bike from Belle Isle off of Detroit to the Wisconsin border. He wants Michigan to be known as the trail state providing a Pure Michigan experience.
We already have some incredible non-motorized trails in our area, the most obvious the Wheelway. The Top of Michigan Trails Council oversees about 288 miles of trail with 180 of that along old railroad rights-of-way.
There's a trail from Gaylord to Mackinaw City, Alpena to Cheboygan, Cheboygan to Mackinaw City, from the Wheelway to Mackinaw City along the old railroad grade to the west of U.S. 31 and a planned trail from Boyne City to Charlevoix.
Charlevoix city manager Rob Straebel said "(We are) extremely excited about the potential for a new bike/pedestrian trail from (Traverse City) to Charlevoix. Charlevoix would be at the epicenter of many converging trails leading to tangible economic development benefits. We will continue to be part of the trail discussions."
And that's an important point -- trail users add to the economy.
Whether or not they come specifically to use a trail, people tend to find them and use them. Moms and dads with strollers, inline skaters, bicyclists, runners and walkers, even on a rare occasion an equestrian, manage to find and use the trails.
Some areas of some trails are open to snowmobilers in the winter thus adding additional trails to the already extensive system that Michigan offers.
And it's not just here -- a trail near our daughter's home in Colorado has a lot of use, and down in southern Arizona, a trail near Rio Rico sees plenty of use as well.
And where we live in Green Valley, a biker friendly community, there are plenty of designated bike lanes to keep cyclists safe and they are incredibly heavily used.
If the communities along U.S. 31 between Charlevoix and TC decide on a trail, the best thing they can keep in mind is if they build it, the trail users will come, especially when they realize how beautiful the ride will be as they roll along.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at email@example.com.