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Past Justice Action Alerts #6
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Sent: Friday, September 03, 2004
In case you haven't heard, here is the latest on the proposed amendment ballot initiative. I was holding off on sending anything out until this word came through. unfortunately, it came as no surprise.

I'll not include much more of my writing on this, but wanted to send along the wording of the resolution we were allowed to present, was adopted, and is now included in the Michigan Democratic Party 2004 Platform Resolution package. Although I am very disappointed in the handling of the original resolutions, I am proud to have been a part of the struggle that brought about this resolution and that it is officially included.

I'll be doing all I can to help educate about the ramifications of this amendment and will be mounting a camping to have the DMP support its adopted resolution to do so. Site development is occurring. If anyone would like to help with research and info. for the site, please let me know.

Also, and I know I keep saying it, but I have to...please try to get a friend or relative or two (or more!) to join. Just have them send me an email asking to be included on the list. (And this is a STATE-WIDE ballot initiative, so we're seeking folks from anywhere in Michigan and suppotive/cocnerned people anywhere!) If there is more than one person in a household interested, please have those folks forward their individual email address. Numbers of voices will be imperative.

Thank you so much for being my friends - and for believing that equality in this country must not be based upon being a majority and that discrimination is not acceptable.


First the news article - then the resolution:

Michigan appeals court orders gay marriage, gambling proposals on ballot
9/3/2004, 3:14 p.m. ET
The Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan voters should be allowed to weigh in on proposed ballot initiatives related to gay marriage and gambling, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
State elections officials worked Friday to enact the court orders so the proposals would appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. The orders are clear, secretary of state spokeswoman Kelly Chesney said, and will not require a reconvening of the Board of State Canvassers.
One of the proposed constitutional amendments would define marriage in Michigan as a union between one man and one woman.
The group supporting the initiative, Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, gathered far more than the 317,757 signatures required to place the issue on the ballot. The dispute was over whether language on the proposal was incomplete or misleading.
Part of the proposal says the state would recognize only a union between a man and woman as a marriage or "similar union for any purpose."
Critics say the language is broad and could force universities, governments and other public agencies to stop giving domestic partner health benefits to same-sex couples and heterosexual couples that aren't married.
"We're very disappointed," Michael Hodge, attorney for a group opposed to the initiative called Coalition for a Fair Michigan, said of the court's ruling. "The ballot language is confusing and will not help explain to people what they're voting on when they go to the polls."
The ballot proposal went to the appeals court because the Board of State Canvassers, which is supposed to decide what issues get on the ballot, deadlocked in a 2-2 vote last month. Two Republicans voted in favor of placing the proposal on the ballot, while two Democrats were opposed.
A three-member panel of appeals court judges said the elections board "breached its clear legal duty to certify the petition when it was in the proper form and had sufficient signatures."
The court ruled that Board of State Canvassers members were wrong to consider the merits of the proposal and that its legality could not be challenged unless it becomes law.
"We're thankful in this case we had judges who interpreted the law rather than rewriting it," said Marlene Elwell, president of Citizens for the Protection of Marriage.
Michigan law already bans gay marriage. But supporters of the initiative want it written into the state constitution to protect it against what they call activist judges and politicians.
Canvassers had approved the ballot initiative that would require certain types of gambling to be approved by voters at both the state and local level. But the proposal was challenged by Hazel Park Harness Raceway, one of several Michigan horse racing tracks that wants to add video lottery games and slot machines.
The initiative would not apply to American Indian casinos or Detroit's three casinos. The measure would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2004.
"Today's Court of Appeals ruling is a victory for all Michigan voters," said Roger Martin, spokesman for Let Voters Decide — YES! "(Voters) have always decided major gambling expansions in the past and deserve to have a vote on the future casino-style gambling expansions in their communities."
Appeals court judges Peter O'Connell, Donald Owens and William Whitbeck ruled unanimously in both cases.


WHEREAS, a proposed state constitutional amendment may appear on the November 2, 2004 general election ballot that would define marriage, civil unions or the legal equivalents for any purpose; and

WHEREAS, the freedom to marry and/or form binding relationships is an important freedom to all people in the State of Michigan; and

WHEREAS, a constitutional definition of “marriage and any similar union for any purpose” will affect every person in Michigan and many relationships between people in Michigan, now and for years to come; and

WHEREAS, amending the State Constitution is a very serious matter which should not be done without careful consideration of the long-term consequences; and

WHEREAS, the proposed constitutional amendment may deny civil unions and/or legal equivalents, and may limit benefits provided to any person by both private and governmental entities; and

WHEREAS, Democrats believe that voters should be as knowledgeable as possible about all of the candidates and proposals on any ballot;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges all Democrats to thoroughly and carefully study this proposal before voting on it; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all Democrats are urged to participate in efforts to educate voters about this ballot proposal.

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