Justice Action Alerts #6
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Friday, September 03, 2004
EDUCATION VS. DISCRIMINATION
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
9/3/2004, 3:14 p.m. ET
By TIM MARTIN
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
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
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
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
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
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.
REGARDING THE BALLOT
PROPOSAL ON DEFINING MARRIAGE
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;
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
WHEREAS, Democrats believe that voters should be as knowledgeable
as possible about all of the candidates and proposals on
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.