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Unfortunately, these examples and articles represent only a small fraction of the impact of prejudice, ignorance and discrimination on the lives of millions of United States citizens.

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September 11th proved that the inability to enter into a civil marriage could cause greater grief in a time of tragedy. More than one year later, grieving partners are still battling for property and insurance claims just because they could not marry. (marriageequality.org)

Proposal 04-02. A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO SPECIFY WHAT CAN BE RECOGNIZED AS A 'MARRIAGE OR SIMILAR UNION' FOR ANY PURPOSE. The proposal would amend the state constitution to provide that "the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose."

The Lansing State Journal describes the amendment's effects:

"Advocates on both sides of this issue have said the use of "similar union for any purpose" carries the amendment beyond marriage and would ban other legal recognition, such as domestic partner benefits offered by state universities.

Since the impact isn't in serious dispute, why shouldn't that be clarified for voters? State law allows up to 100 words on the ballot. How hard would it be to add a couple of sentences saying that this amendment would ban civil unions and domestic partner benefits...

Most of all, though, Michigan does not need a constitutional amendment worded in a way to trick voters into enshrining legal discrimination against an entire group of citizens."

Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart Threatens To Kill Gays
by Jan Prout
(Toronto, Ontario) A Canadian television station has apologized publicly to viewers for a telecast of American evangelist Jimmy Swaggart's television program in which he threatened to kill gays.

The program aired during a broadcast Sept. 12 regarding marriage equality, on Omni 1, a Toronto multicultural station, and throughout the US, has also prompted an investigation by the Canadian Radio Television Commission, the government agency which regulates television.

During the program, a rambling sermon by Swaggart who is trying to rehabilitate himself after an arrest for soliciting a prostitute, the televangelist turned to the subject of gay marriage.

According to a transcript of the program, Swaggart said: "I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

The remarks were met with applause from his congregation

Bankruptcy case forces same-sex marriage fight
Washington lesbian filed to keep her ill partner's house

Friday, August 20, 2004
OLYMPIA, Washington (AP) -- Lee Kandu never wanted to be a crusader for same-sex marriage.

The Castle Rock, Washington, woman just wanted to file for bankruptcy protection so she could keep her house after her spouse -- a woman she married in Canada -- was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But her case thrust her into the national debate when a federal judge in Tacoma ruled that Lee and Ann Kandu, a lesbian couple, can not file jointly for bankruptcy protection as a married couple. Federal law, the judge ruled, defines marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman."

Judge Paul Snyder's Tuesday ruling marks the first time a federal court has upheld the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Critics and supporters of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act agree the ruling of one bankruptcy judge probably will not have far-reaching impact. The battle over same-sex marriage is unfolding in state courts, which won't be affected by the bankruptcy court rulings.
But the decision means everything to Kandu, and she plans to appeal.

"The people who came up with the Defense of Marriage Act, basically have been punishing us for who we are," Kandu, 46, said Thursday. "I feel like we have been tried and convicted and as a punishment they are taking away our rights. It's just not fair."

Kandu spoke to The Associated Press as she drove to Portland for a doctor's appointment. Both Lee and Ann Kandu were diagnosed with cancer in October 2002: Lee has ovarian cancer and Ann, who took her partner's last name, had uterine cancer.

Surgeries, chemotherapy and prescription drugs drained their bank accounts as cancer sapped their strength. Lee Kandu, a tax preparer, missed the 2003 and 2004 tax seasons because of the illnesses.
When they married in British Columbia on August 11, 2003, both thought they were recovering. But in October, Ann Kandu learned that her cancer had spread and there was nothing more the doctors could do.

That's when Lee Kandu filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. She wasn't trying to make a political statement when she identified Ann as her spouse, she said -- they had long ago combined their finances, and they were trying to keep creditors at bay.

"The Defense of Marriage Act, that wasn't our reason for filing for bankruptcy," Kandu said. "I want to deal with the bank, I want to get my life on track."

Kandu represented herself, slogging through bankruptcy law books to make the case that she and Ann should be able to file for bankruptcy together. The U.S. Justice Department opposed her case, and pressed the court to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act.

On March 25, Ann Kandu died. Lee Kandu sold her office computer and remaining business assets to pay for the cremation.

In his ruling issued Tuesday, Snyder sympathized with Kandu but said the law is clear: marriage is a union of one man and one woman. As a court of "limited jurisdiction," Snyder said, he must defer to Congress.

"There is no basis for this Court to unilaterally determine at this time that there is a fundamental right to marry someone of the same sex," Snyder wrote.

He found that the Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution by allowing members of the opposite sex to wed but not members of the same sex.
Snyder said this was the first time the Defense of Marriage Act has been tested in federal court. Although the law is eight years old, previous challenges were denied standing because the parties weren't married. Only after same-sex marriages were legalized in parts of the United States and Canada could court challenges proceed.

Opponents of same-sex marriage applauded the ruling.

LAFAYETTE — The murky wording of the Defense of Marriage Amendment on Saturday’s state ballot is what may fool voters into supporting it, opponents say, adding that it would do nothing to make homosexual marriage any more illegal than it already is in Louisiana.

Instead, it could take away rights of common law heterosexual couples.

“What’s so hurtful is that people are going to vote on amending the Constitution, and they don’t even know what this is going to do to us,” said Nell Hahn, a member of League for Equality, a group against Amendment 1.


Louisiana Approves Ban on Gay Marriage
Sun Sep 19, 2004 01:00 AM ET
NEW ORLEANS, La. (Reuters) - Louisiana voters on Saturday overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriages and civil unions.

With most of the state's 4,124 voting precincts reporting, the amendment was passing by a margin of 80 percent to 20 percent.

Supporters hailed the vote as a victory for traditional marriage.

"This was an incredible mandate," Republican state Rep. Steve Scalise, co-author of the amendment, told Reuters. "It shows that the people of Louisiana feel very passionately that marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Amendment opponents vowed to fight the legislation in court. They said it put in danger domestic partner benefits provided by private companies and local governments, including the city of New Orleans.

"The Christian Coalition did an excellent job of deceiving the legislature and the voters into believing that this amendment only dealt with the issue of marriage," said Randall Evans, an attorney for Forum For Equality, a statewide civil rights organization. "Now, 500,000 Louisianians will have to look to the courts for protection of their constitutional rights."

With Saturday's vote, Louisiana became the second state to adopt a constitutional ban on gay unions. Missouri voters approved a similar bill in August.

Constitutional amendments will appear on ballots in 10 other states in November, according to the

Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization.

Further – unbelievable – follow-up:

Louisiana attorney general to investigate New Orleans voting problems

NEW ORLEANS Louisiana's attorney general says he will investigate election problems in New Orleans today that closed 59 precincts because voting machines were not delivered to polling places.

The problem was solved by midday, but Attorney General Charles Foti says at least 59 precincts around the city did not have voting machines for hours after polls opened at 6 this morning. It was unclear how many voters were affected.

Foti says his office will review what happened and take whatever steps are necessary to make sure it doesn't happen again.

A spokesman for the Louisiana secretary of state's office, which is responsible for elections, blamed the problem on the moving company hired to deliver the machines. Spokesman Scott Madere says the company's employees did not show up and machines that should have been delivered to polling places sat for hours in a warehouse in eastern New Orleans.

Some people were outraged that they couldn't vote on a day when the ballot included local sheriff and school board races and a statewide constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.

Julius Green says he went to his polling place in New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood about 10 o'clock and found no voting machines, just a crowd of people who were fuming that they couldn't cast ballots.

Secretary of State Fox McKeithen says he's sure the problems will lead to lawsuits.

Catholic Church donations boost gay marriage ban campaign
By Tim Martin / Associated Press
LANSING -- A campaign supporting the ban of gay marriage in Michigan has raised more than $1 million headed into the Nov. 2 election, according to finance reports filed with the state Friday.

The Catholic church has donated about half the money raised by the Citizens for the Protection of Marriage campaign, which supports Michigan’s Proposal 2. All Catholic dioceses in Michigan have contributed, ranging from $270,000 from the Archdiocese of Detroit to $20,000 from the Diocese of Marquette.

Catholic church leaders also have sent letters to all Michigan parishes in support of the proposal and have asked priests to preach on the matter this Sunday.

The main campaign group opposing Proposal 2, the Coalition for a Fair Michigan, has raised about $198,000. The campaign also has received nearly $27,000 in in-kind contributions.
Both reports reflect fund-raising from Jan. 1 through Oct. 1.

Both groups say fund-raising efforts will intensify as the election approaches.
“We have more than 400 donors, which shows we have great grass-roots support,” said Marlene Elwell, manager of the pro-Proposal 2 campaign called Protect Marriage Yes. “That will really step up as we get closer.”

The Coalition for a Fair Michigan reported nearly 1,200 donors.
“What is significant about our report is the sheer numbers of donors,” said Dana Houle, the group’s political director.

The Coalition for a Fair Michigan has spent about $154,000, leaving it with $43,408 on hand as of
Oct. 1.

The pro-Proposal 2 group has spent $552,472, leaving it with $454,517 as of Oct. 1.

Proposal 2 would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the state constitution. Same-sex marriage already is outlawed in Michigan, but supporters of the ban want stronger language put in the state constitution to better prevent judges or lawmakers from changing the law.

Voters in at least nine other states face similar ballot proposals in November. Michigan’s gay marriage proposal goes farther than some in that it would not only limit marriage to a union between a man and woman, it also would limit a “similar union for any purpose” to a man and a woman.

That means public employers may not have to offer typical marriage benefits, such as health care insurance, to the partners of unmarried employees regardless of the partner’s sex.

Proposal 2 opponents say it also could influence some private employers to withhold domestic partner benefits.

On the Net:
Citizens for the Protection of Marriage: http://www.protectmarriageyes.org
Coalition for a Fair Michigan: http://www.coalitionforafairmichigan.org/

“If the KKK was opposing same-sex marriage, Reverend Daniels would ride with them.”
Black Minister Reverend Gregory Daniels speaking at a press conference held by the right-wing Family Research Council on the eve of Massachusetts’s constitutional convention.

As you may know, The group Citizens for the Protection of Marriage (the AFA-Michigan is a coalition member of the group...by the way, the AFA is currently targeting anti-harassment policies in public schools stating "given the high-risk threat of fatal disease and premature death resulting from homosexual behavior, so-called 'anti-harassment' speech codes that prohibit young people from compassionately warning fellow students about the severe medical consequences of such behavior not only violate the Constitution, but arguably put young lives at greater risk,
"(http://www.afamichigan.org/news/release.shtml?Release=20010222a.htm) submitted nearly 500,000 signatures to have their proposed anti-gay (and anti-others as well as you can see below) amendment placed on November's ballot. (Under Michigan law any citizens group which collects 317,000 valid signatures from registered voters can have an issue put to voters.) This hateful and extreme amendment would carry unfathomable consequences. Should Michigan voters adopt it, it would eliminate all of domestic partnership benefits (including opposite and same sex partnerships) and permanently prohibit government entities, such as state universities (U of M and Michigan State included) and local governments, from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees, and would remove any such benefits that these entities already offer. This could also void wills, medical directives, insurance policies, joint bank accounts, health benefits and home ownership agreements. The concept of any of this occurring is chilling, but the fact that many of us could have our bank accounts, mortgages, medical directives and wills stripped away is almost beyond my comprehension. (And I know it is difficult for most of us to believe anything this extreme could occur...but guess what?...a very similar law went into affect July 1 in Virginia. The so-called” Marriage Affirmation Act" prohibits civil unions, partnership contracts or other arrangements "purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage." Included in this sweeping hate legislation are all of the items listed. The Governor, Gov. Mark Warner amended the "Marriage Affirmation Act" by removing the "partnership contracts and other arrangements" language. However, the Assembly rejected those changes and voted to pass the original version of the bill, sponsored by Del. Robert Marshall, R-Manassas. Both chambers passed the measure by more than a two-thirds vote – disallowing a veto by the governor. )
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