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The Michigan Democratic Party embraced full equality for LGBT people in the 2012 state party platform adopted this past weekend at the Michigan Democratic Party convention. In an unequivocal statement of support, the platform reads, “We will vigorously promote measures that ensure the full civil rights of Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.”
The state’s Democratic Platform calls for the repeal of the 2004 Proposition 2 anti-marriage amendment, and goes on to state, “We support full inclusion of LGBT families in the life of our state and seek equal responsibilities, benefits and protections for those families, including the right to adopt and raise children.”
In a separate resolution, Michigan’s Democrats also gave full support for same-sex marriage equality, echoing similar language in the National Democratic platform approved last week in Charlotte. “BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party supports marriage equality and the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.”
Many of the speakers at the Democratic state convention voiced their support for LGBT people and their rights.
“Everybody deserves equal and fair treatment in the courts, regardless of their race, their gender, their age or who they love,” said Bridget McCormack, one of the three women nominated for the Michigan Supreme Court. All three, Sheila Johnson, Connie Marie Kelley and McCormack, voiced their full support for LGBT rights in their acceptance speeches.
The strong support from the Michigan’s Democrats starkly contrasts with the Michigan Republicans’ antagonistic stand on LGBT rights. Michigan Republicans support the anti-marriage amendment passed by voters in 2004 and support a narrow definition of marriage that deprives same-sex couples of being eligible for medical insurance, visitation rights and many other employment benefits. Michigan’s Republicans are against second parent adoption, and do not support expanding the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act to include protections for LGBT people. Without expansion of these state laws, Michigan’s LGBT people have no state protections against discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing.
The Republican convention had one upset when Nancy Danhof, an incumbent State School Board member, lost her renomination bid to a far more conservative Tea Party candidate, Melanie Kurdys, from Portage. The other Republican nominee, Todd Courser, is also a Tea Party member.
Current School Board President John Austin is concerned that if these Tea Party candidates are elected, they will push a right-wing agenda that is not good for students, schools or teachers.
“It is tragic, but a sign of the simple-minded extremism taking over the Republican party, when their nominees not only object to common high learning standards for young people in a global economy, they think teachers and teachers unions are the enemy,” said Austin. “How do we educate kids and support those who do (teachers) with attitudes like that?”
The Democrats nominated Lupe Ramos-Montigny and Michelle Fecteau to run against Tea Partiers Kurdys and Courser Nov. 6.