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On Nov. 2, we have an opportunity to move forward toward full equality, or maintain the anti-LGBT status quo. If we have any hope of passing a meaningful state anti-bullying law, amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and ultimately reversing the horrendous constitutional amendment that discriminates against us and our family members, we must make informed decisions on whom to elect in the state legislature, the governorship and the Michigan Supreme Court.
But this critical election actually begins on Aug. 3, when Michigan holds its primaries.
In this issue of BTL, we focus on the the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates – Andy Dillon and Virg Bernero – and their attitudes, stances and goals for LGBT rights in the state. But beyond our community’s issues, we have been studying the records of the candidates these past several months. We have looked at their plans for the economy, for job creation, for green energy and the revitalization of our state.
On Aug. 3, we have an opportunity to select not only the most LGBT-friendly candidate for governor in the history of our state, but also the best person for the tasks at hand to keep Michigan afloat.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will not simply pay lip service to our issues; he will stand with us and fight with us. And what’s more is that he has the legislative background, leadership experience and creative ingenuity to pull off the objectives that will help all of us as citizens of this state, and will attract more great minds to Michigan.
Do not misunderstand us: Andy Dillon is surely a supporter of the LGBT community, and has the state’s best interests in mind.
But in Bernero, we have a leader who can pull off the promises he makes, and who we know will make good on his commitment to LGBT rights, because we have seen him follow through time and again. He is a presence at Michigan Pride almost every year. He fought for – and passed – a human rights ordinance in the city of Lansing. He hires, is friends with and has loved many LGBT people (notably, his campaign manager and his late brother, who passed away of AIDS).
We cannot allow Mike Cox – the attorney general who took away domestic partner benefits after Prop. 2 was passed, or Pete Hoeskstra – whose HRC Congressional ratings have been at zero since 1993, to become the next Michigan governor. If either of them does manage to win in November, it will be difficult to see any progress on the legislative front for years.
Some people believe we should simply not bother; that a Democrat is not likely to win the governorship in November. But once you have looked into Bernero’s campaign for yourself and watched some of the video footage (especially of him defending the auto industry last year on CNN time and again when Republicans were against a Big Three bailout) you will see the character and can-do nature of Virg Bernero. His campaign motto, “Make Michigan Work Again,” includes all citizens at the table.
But don’t just listen to us. Read our interviews with Bernero and Dillon in this week’s BTL, and then visit Virg Bernero’s website at www.votevirg.com and Dillon’s at www.andydillon.com. And be sure to get out and vote!