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The list of individuals and groups recognizing the importance and need of uniting against discrimination is rapidly growing! In Michigan recently added to the list are the AFL-CIO and the Michigan Education Association.

Forward any position statements to here.
We’ll post them here and, if we have enough information, send out a JUSTICE ACTION ALERT.

Link for elected officials contact: http://congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

Additional contact information including phone numbers - House: http://clerk.house.gov/index.html

Additional contact information - Senate: http://www.senate.gov/


Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm:
Sunday, October 03, 2004
By Peter Luke
(Booth Newspapers)

Throughout her first two years in office, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been criticized for failing to take decisive stands, lest an unpopular position dent her 65 percent approval rating. Some of it has been justified, some of it hasn't.

Three months after the Citizens for the Protection of Marriage filed their signatures that put a gay marriage ban on the Nov. 2 ballot, Granholm has yet to put her considerable communications skills to work in opposition.

When asked by reporters, the governor will say she's voting "no." A constituent who writes will receive a position statement in return, which is: While she supports the definition of marriage as the union of a man and woman, the constitutional ban goes too far and is unnecessary and divisive.

"I am particularly concerned about this initiative because I believe it is designed to divide Americans by trying to use our state and federal institutions to cause pain for some of our families for largely political purposes," Granholm writes in her letter. "The constitution should be a shield used to protect the rights of our citizens, not a sword to hurt them by interfering in their most personal relationships."

Republican Rep. remains resolute against marriage amendment
By D'Anne Witkowski

Originally printed 10/21/04 (Issue 1243 - pridesource.com)FARMINGTON - Despite the heat he faced in the August primary, Republican State Representative Lorence Wenke (Kalamazoo-Calhoun) is standing firm in his opposition to Proposal 2, the so-called "marriage amendment."

In an Oct. 14 Western Herald Online article Wenke said he was against Proposal 2, calling it "unfair to our gay and lesbian families. This is social policy and does not belong in the state constitution."
In addition, Wenke challenged proponents' claims that the amendment was only about marriage. Coalition for a Fair Michigan, a group formed to oppose the amendment, maintains that the amendment's wording is so broad as to ban civil unions and domestic partner benefits for gay and straight couples in Michigan. "Sen. Cropsey, who is one of the senators sponsoring this proposal, told me personally that it will prohibit taxpayer-funded institutions, like universities and city governments, from providing domestic partner benefits," Wenke told the Western Herald.

Wenke was one of only three Republican Representatives to vote against putting the issue on the Nov. ballot when it was before the House in March, 2004. Although he is not in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, he called the measure discriminatory.

As a result of his vote, the right wing targeted Wenke for defeat in the Aug. 3 primary. Wenke was challenged by former Rep. Jerry Vander Roest who criticized Wenke's vote on the marriage proposal. Wenke fended off his challenger by only a handful of votes, raising over $230,000 according to a July 25 article in the Battle Creek Enquirer, $183,000 of which was his own money. In contrast, Vander Roest's campaign spent less than $11,000.

Vander Roest, who made "family values" an issue in his campaign, has been divorced and was once arrested in a prostitution sting according to a July 31, 2004 article in the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Pride PAC President Sean Kosofsky praised Wenke. "Lorence displayed incredible courage and leadership in voting against HJRU and everyone who cares about fairness and non-discrimination should support his campaign financially and otherwise."

Kosofsky added, "He's so committed to community service and so committed to fairness we need to reward him."

Read Republican Lorence Wenke's explanation for his nay vote on the proposed marriage amendment, from the JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE.

Read Republican Rep. Leon Drolet's explanation for his nay vote on the proposed marriage amendment, from the JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE.

MEA opposes Proposal 2

Ballot initiative would infringe on bargaining rights of employees
September 22, 2004

EAST LANSING, Mich., Sept. 22, 2004 - The Michigan Education Association (MEA) opposes Proposal 2 on Michigan's Nov. 2 ballot because it would infringe on the bargaining rights of public employees.
Proposal 2 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."
This proposal would ban domestic partner benefits offered by public employers, including state universities and school districts. Where they exist, those benefits have been negotiated through collective bargaining.

"It's a bargaining issue," said Al Short, MEA director of Government Affairs. MEA members in K-12 districts and institutions of higher education - including Ann Arbor Public Schools and Michigan State University - have negotiated domestic partner benefits into contracts.

As is the case with other statewide ballot issues and/or candidates, the MEA's Statewide Screening and Recommendation Committee considered the merits of the ballot initiative. The member-driven committee objected to the collective bargaining implications of Proposal 2, Short said.

MEA represents more than 160,000 public school employees statewide, including K-12 teachers and support staff, and faculty and staff at institutions of higher education.
From the Michigan Education Association

Michigan AFL-CIO Opposes Proposal 2

Proposal 2, a misleading constitutional amendment described by its backers as a "gay marriage ban," would take away many rights and benefits already enjoyed by Michigan families and prohibit all public employers from continuing to offer health and pension benefits through domestic partnerships.

In a press conference earlier today, Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney indicated that the organization views Proposal 2 as a cynical and divisive political ploy. He said that the AFL-CIO opposes the measure because it would take away benefits that have already been negotiated into union contracts. Further, he indicated that the AFL-CIO views Proposal 2 as totally unnecessary, noting that same-sex marriage is already illegal in Michigan.

Ohio Gay Marriage Supporters Gain Powerful Ally
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 4, 2004 8:19 pm ET

(Columbus, Ohio) The American Association of Retired People has announced its opposition to a proposed amendment to the Ohio state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.

Voters will decide the gay marriage issue in November.

The AARP which has some 35 million members nationwide said that if the amendment is accepted it "will have unfair and injurious consequences for many older adults."

“State Issue One would deny property ownership rights, inheritance, pensions, power of attorney and other matters of vital interest to the health and well being of unmarried older couples," AARP Ohio said in a statement.

The support from the association is a major boost for opponents of the proposed amendment. Older citizens are more likely to vote.

Polls taken before the AARP announcement show that the measure is likely to pass.
Attorney General Jim Petro (R), Ohio State University , the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and business leaders across Ohio have already stated their support for defeating the amendment.
Court efforts to block the vote were rejected last month. (story) Eleven states will vote on similar amendments in November.

Social Workers Come Out in Support of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

NEW YORK – The National Association of Social Workers filed a friend-of-the-court brief today in support of the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit seeking marriage for same-sex couples in New York.

“Lesbian and gay people are capable of being perfectly fine parents, and their families need the same protections and safeguards that the families of different-sex couples receive through marriage,” said Robert Schachter, DSW, Executive Director of the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, which includes 10,000 professional social workers. “It's time that we put aside our outdated ideas about marriage and recognize that allowing same-sex couples to marry will only strengthen families and benefit children.”

The brief, which points to decades of social science research proving that gay couples are just as capable of being good parents as straight couples, debunks arguments by marriage equality opponents that allowing same-sex couples to marry would somehow be harmful to children.

The brief notes that every mainstream child advocacy and mental health organization, including the National Association of Social Workers, the Child Welfare League of America, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the North American Council on Adoptable Children, oppose restrictions on parenting by gay people.

Today, the ACLU also filed a reply brief in the case responding to arguments made by the state, which is defending the state law that discriminates against same-sex couples in marriage. All briefing in the case is scheduled to be completed by September 3, 2004 . The court is expected to issue a decision in the case sometime this fall.

The ACLU brought the lawsuit on behalf of 13 same-sex couples, many of whom had hoped to be married by New Paltz Mayor Jason West but were unable to do so after he was forced to stop performing marriages for same-sex couples. The lawsuit charges that state law prohibiting same-sex couples from marriage violates the state constitution's guarantees of equality and due process.

Since the lawsuit was filed, two separate New York judges have dismissed criminal charges against Mayor West and others who performed marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. In dismissing the criminal charges, both judges found that it was unconstitutional for the state to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 153,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies. Learn more about NASW by visiting its website at http://socialworkers.org/ , and about the Kansas chapter by visiting http://knasw.com/ .

The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. The ACLU is non-profit and non-partisan. Our membership has grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists at our founding in 1920 to an organization of more than 400,000 members and supporters, with local offices that cover every state in the nation. The Lesbian and Gay Rights Project is a special division of the ACLU that was founded in 1986. The goal of the Project is equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. That means no discrimination by government, no discrimination in employment, housing, schools and public places, and fair treatment of LGBT families and relationships.

Biographical information about the couples represented by the ACLU as well as legal documents


Denying Same-Sex Couples Legal Access to Civil Marriage is Discriminatory and Can Adversely Affect the Psychological, Physical, Social and Economic Well-Being of Gay and Lesbian Individuals

HONOLULU – Prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is discriminatory and unfairly denies such couples, their children and other members of their families the legal, financial and social advantages of civil marriage says the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Council of Representatives in a resolution adopted today. The APA also opposed discrimination against lesbian or gay parents adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health services.

Both policy positions were adopted at the recommendation of an APA Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships. The Working Group, appointed by the APA Council of Representatives in February 2004, was charged with developing policy recommendations for APA that would guide psychologists in the current public debate over civil marriage for same-sex couples. The Working Group was directed further to base its policy recommendations on the research on same-sex relationships and families.

This seven-member team of psychologists with a combination of both scientific expertise in family and couple relations and professional expertise with lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations summarized the research that discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation detrimentally affects the psychological, physical, social and economic well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, that same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.

"The APA recognizes the importance of the institution of civil marriage which confers a social status with important legal benefits, rights and privileges," said psychologist Armand R. Cerbone, who is a private practitioner in Chicago and chair of the working group. "Discrimination of all kinds takes a toll on people's health and psychological well being. In the context of the huge social and political debate that is currently going on, APA and psychologists had to grapple with the issue of what psychology believes is in the public interest in this controversy.”

Given what research tells us about the impact of discrimination and given that the research further provides no justification for discriminating against same-sex couples in marriage or in parenting, the Working Group strongly recommended that APA support states in providing civil marriage to same-sex couples and fully recognizing the parental rights of lesbians and gay men. As a benefit for human welfare, it is important to point out that permitting same-sex couples to marriage may especially benefit people who also experience discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, disability, gender and gender identity, religion and socioeconomic status, said Cerbone.

According to the United States Accounting Office (2004), over 1,000 federal statutory provisions exist in which marital status is a factor in determining a person’s eligibility to receive various benefits, rights and privileges.APA Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships: Armand Cerbone, Ph.D., Chicago, Illinois; Beverly Greene, Ph.D., St. John’s University; Kristin Hancock, Ph.D., Graduate School of Professional Psychology at John F. Kennedy University; Lawrence A. Kurdek, Ph.D., Wright State University; Candace A. McCullough, Ph.D., Bethesda, Maryland; Letitia Anne Peplau, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Full text of the resolutions is available at http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/policy/marriage.pdf (Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Marriage).

Reporters: Armand Cerbone, PhD can be by phone at (773) 755-0833 or by Email
The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Here is a small representation of the many Local UNITED VOICES listed as members of the Coalition for a Fair Michigan. To view the long list of the many united against discrimination in Michigan click here:

Ann Arbor Committee for Peace
University of Michigan Graduate Employees Organization
Michigan Federation of Teachers and School Related Personnel, AFT, AFL-CIO
Concerned Clergy of West Michigan
Green Party of Michigan

Included among UNITED VOICES in support of same-sex marriage nationally are the following categories and members. To view the long list click here:

National/International Politicians & Community Leaders
Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders
John Lewis (D-GA), Member of Congress
Coretta Scott King
Gloria Steinem
Religious Leaders
Reverend Patricia E. Ackerman, Episcopal Church of NYC
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, NYC
Religious Organizations
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Nat'l Community Relations Cmte of the American Friends Service Cmte
Civil Rights Groups & Other Organizations
American Psychoanalytic Association
Bar Association of the City of New York
Southern Center for Law & Justice United States
Literary Leaders
Nora Ephron
Terrence McNally
Bruce Vilanch
Business Leaders
Ingrid Casares, entrepreneur
Christopher Lee, President, Columbia Pictures
Atlantic Records
UTNE Reader
Sports Figures
Dave Pallone, umpire, Major League Baseball
Actors & Performers
Matthew Broderick
David Duchovny
Melanie Griffith & Antonio Banderas
Eric McCormack
Eric McCormack
Bonnie Raitt

View the complete list

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