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By |2018-01-15T19:23:38-05:00August 3rd, 2006|News|

By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman

ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw County’s LGBT voters will have two allies to choose from in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary: Rebekah Warren and Leigh Greden.
The winner will face Republican Erik P. Sheagren in the Nov. 8 election to replace openly gay state Rep. Chris Kolb in the 53rd district, which serves Ann Arbor and parts of Ann Arbor, Scio and Pittsfield townships.
Many members of the Washtenaw County LGBT community are supporting Warren, who has worked as executive director of MARAL Pro-Choice Michigan since 1999.
“Rebekah Warren, through MARAL, did as much as any straight person in the state to defeat Proposal 2. That itself is reason to support her,” said Keith Orr, who along with his partner, Martin Contreras, scheduled an Aug. 1 fundraising event for Warren at their home.
Warren has earned a endorsement from Triangle Pride PAC, and the endorsements page of her web site lists prominent members of the LGBT community including Lansing City Clerk and former Michigan Equality Executive Director Chris Swope and Michael Gibson-Faith, former director of the American Friends Service Committee’s LGBT Issues Project.
Kolb declined to endorse either candidate.
“I think they both would represent the district well. Either one would be virtually identical on the issues and they’ll be strong supporters of the LGBT community,” said Kolb, who is ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.
Warren’s opposition in the primary is Ann Arbor City Council member Leigh Greden.
Both candidates’ Web sites make statements in support of full civil rights for LGBT individuals.
“A long-time womenÕs rights activist and leader, [Warren] will … continue to work to defend and advance civil rights and liberties, including a womanÕs right to choose and LGBT couplesÕ rights to access health care benefits, adoption and marriage,” Warren’s site says.
According to Greden’s site, “Leigh Greden is 100 percent pro-gay rights and pro-affirmative action, and heÕs the only candidate for State Representative with a legislative record to prove it.”
During his tenure on the City Council, Greden has “drafted and co-sponsored legislation to defend Ann ArborÕs same-sex benefits program from legal challenges by extremist organizations,” “co-sponsored legislation opposing Republican proposals to ban same-sex marriage” and “drafted and sponsored legislation to stop Republican efforts to expand Proposal 2, MichiganÕs ban on same-sex marriage,” according to the site.
Sean Kosofsky, spokesperson for Triangle Pride PAC, said that his organization endorsed Warren over Greden in part because the Greden campaign didn’t return the Pride PAC questionnaire, but, “mostly [because of] Rebekah’s solid reputation with our community. She worked very hard on the Prop. 2 case as head of MARAL, she’s a progressive and she’s got a long history with our community.”
According to Greden, the difference is experience “getting things done.”
“I think both candidates agree on LGBT issues,” Greden said. “The difference is who will be more effective working with different groups in Lansing to actually make things happen. I have a record on City Council of building bridges and getting things done.”
However, Warren implied that Greden’s record is at least in part a result of his working environment. “My opponent has an unusual opportunity right now, working on the City Council [with a Democratic Council and Mayor.] The House and Senate right now are controlled by Republicans, and whoever goes right now will be in a minority situation.”
“My background as an activist and a person who is completely willing to be on the front lines fighting for the things I care about is clear,” Warren said. “Even when it’s hard, even when we lose, I think that the people who have worked with me know and the voters know that I will stand strong for the things that we care about.”
“Of course it’s an honor and a privilege to have activists in the community who have worked with me on campaigns on issues that are important to the LGBT community come forward to endorse the campaign,” she said.

Learn More

For more information on Rebekah Warren’s campaign visit
For more information on Leigh Greden visit

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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