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Past Justice Action Alerts #5
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Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Subject: Politics and Fair-Minded Folk...
Just a recap of some things I never thought I would experience!
(I really attempt to restrict my use of this list and generating emails to information regarding the Michigan ballot initiative. Hopefully, the information included here will fit the bill closely enough. Had a couple of really exciting experiences that I wanted to share!)

As some of you know –from being pestered by me…sorry- I recently decided to run as Democratic Precinct Delegate write-in candidate. This ended up being a remarkable experience. We put together a flier (and attached a pencil with the write-in information included on it…created by adhering clear laser-print labels…it was a riot seeing people show up at the polls with the pencils to take in with them while voting!), completed a very targeted canvassing Monday evening and worked the polls 13 hours (sunburn!) election day Tuesday. There were 193 votes cast in our precinct. About 30 of those were Republican (so I was out there). 45 were absentee...again, no chance there for me as a late write-in. Down to 120-ish possible votes in total. Ended up with 83 votes - they threw out four due to errors ("David O'Brien", etc...which was still a much lower percentage than we had anticipated given the hoops folks had to jump through to cast a write-in vote;) Ended up with 79...the top vote-getter! The poll workers said it was the first time they had seen it happen for a write-in candidate not included on the ballot with four other people on the ballot and they couldn't believe it. I surely was surprised…figuring there was no chance – especially with so many absentee ballots. They were really great at the polls…as were almost all of the people I was able to speak with that day. It was such a terrific experience to see how much people have in common…and not the overwhelming differences that some political leaders would have us believe. I was able to learn so much about the democratic process as well - a fascinating opportunity. I know I was very lucky.

Anyway, the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Convention took place last Saturday. About 111 delegates and many other interested democrats attended. The agenda included meetings of three committees, one of which was the Resolution Committee. I decided to participate in this committee. (Delegates were able to select participation in one of the three committees including the Rules Committee, Credentials Committee and Resolution Committee.) In the meeting, resolutions were brought before the committee for introduction and debate. A group of us were concerned that, although the resolutions we were hearing were outstanding, there was not one regarding the proposed “marriage” amendment. We quickly met and I submitted the following (please see below). Which, was accepted UNANIMOUSLY! Later the three committees presented their report and the accepted resolutions were voted on by the entire group. There was some debate on various resolutions, but they were all adopted!!!

All resolutions adopted during the convention will be forwarded to the state platform committee for adoption and are to be advocated by the county’s delegation to said committee.

Following this incredible event, there were caucuses for the purpose of electing state pre-convention committee delegates and alternates. Included were two positions to the State Platform Committee - one male delegate and one male alternate delegate - to represent he 15th district. They accepted four nominations and someone nominated me. It came down to two of us and was really close. The delegate was great and I know he’ll be strong. I was elected as the alternate, and was so excited and more than a little surprised. Regular people can actually get involved and feel like they have a voice, and it can happen more quickly than I would have ever guessed. The resolution is included now and I will be attending the Pre-Convention Platform Committee training session and meeting!

On voting day, I also convinced someone I met who was working for the Coalition For A Fair Michigan to run in his precinct. (There were NO Democratic Delegate candidates running in his precinct!) He won! Just as a side pitch, PLEASE consider running in your precinct in the future. These are positions that afford a voice in the creation of the party platform, and having my friends among the people making these decisions would certainly make me feel optimistic.

What is most amazing to me is that anyone –including someone as boring, regular and simple as I- could participate and feel, as mentioned earlier, that it made a bit of a difference.

The entire experience has been more than I could have ever imagined. I mention the resolution only because it ties in with the “marriage” initiative info. included in this update, but there were many exciting and hopeful events the last few weeks.

Here is the resolution as submitted and adopted:

TITLE OF RESOLUTION: Oppose the proposed “marriage” amendment to the Michigan Constitution.

Drafted by: Chris O’Brien

Adopted by:

WHEREAS: (It being a fact that:)

*Same-sex marriage is already against the law in Michigan.
*This Constitutional amendment would permanently ban civil unions for all unmarried couples.
*This Constitutional amendment would force employers to cancel the insurance and pension benefits they already offer to the unmarried partners, both gay and straight, to tens of thousands of Michigan workers.

RESOLVED: (A decision or solution to be made),

The Washtenaw Democratic Party opposes constitutionalized discrimination against unmarried couples and Michigan families.

Other items I thought folks might be interested in knowing about, if you haven’t heard already:

There have been some frustrating set-backs nationally…Missouri passed their anti-gay amendment, the California Supreme Court voided nearly 4000 marriages, In Utah, two groups have formed to seek discrimination - one group is described as “concentrating more on scientific issues, scientifically why same-sex couples (note the absence of the word “marriage” here even) are not good for families.” As usual, and as with the Michigan initiative, this push would eliminate basic laws such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights for ALL unmarried couples gay or straight.

The position adopted by the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives deploring discrimination and supporting marriage rights
Can be viewed here: http://www.hrc.org/Content/ContentGroups/FamilyNet/Professional_opinion/American_Psychological_Association.htm

For the most current updates, information and related stories on the fight against discrimination please check out http://www.loveisloveislove.com/
my favorite anti-hate and anti-discrimination site – by Margaret Cho! This site is meticulous, incredibly current – extraordinary (!) and its web mistress is unbelievable! And if you haven’t heard, Margaret Cho’s “The State of Emergency Tour” will be hitting The Michigan Theatre Oct. 9! For ticket information, please click here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/080038F4C9B76AF3?brand=&artistid=784761&majorcatid=10001&minorcatid=51
or http://www.margaretcho.com/tour/tour.htm or call The Michigan Union Ticket Office at 734-763-TKTS or Ticketmaster at 248-645-6666!!!)

There is so much more to send, but I know this is long already. One last thing, I would love to increase my “Folks For A Fair World” mailing list. If you haven’t connected with me to let me know it’s okay to send these very periodic updates to you, please consider doing so. I appreciate and respect differences of opinion and won’t send them to those who don’t let me know that it is okay to include them in my contact information. (Although I will be sending this email to more folk due to the campaign update included. If you aren’t on the list, this is the only one you’ll receive.) Also, in a push to increase the size of the list before the ballot initiative really kicks in for the general public, I wanted to ask if you would consider getting even just one other concerned and like-minded person to join the list? The list could double in no timeJ

Again, if you haven’t let me know it’s okay to include you, I haven’t. Please let me know if you’d like to be included. (And thanks for handling this email:)

As always, thank you so much! Hope your summer is proving to be peaceful and allowing time for fun!


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