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by Dawn Wolfe
DETROIT – Congressman John Conyers and Detroit City Council President MaryAnn Mahaffey joined Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Donald Boggs and Michigan ACLU Executive Director Kary Moss at an Oct. 11 news conference to state their opposition to the anti-marriage Proposal 2.
During the press conference, Mahaffey voiced her conviction that Proposal 2 is a “smoke screen” designed to distract Detroit voters from real issues like education, jobs, health care, and the security of local families.
Boggs told reporters at the conference that Proposal 2, which in addition to amending the state Constitution to ban equal marriage rights and civil unions would also void domestic partner benefits, would damage collective bargaining rights.
“Proposal 2 is bad for organized labor because it will undermine existing negotiated agreements. The AFL-CIO urges all of its membership to vote NO on Proposal 2.”
State Representative Bill McConico and State Senators Buzz Thomas, Hansen Clarke, and Burton Leland have also come out in opposition to Proposal 2.
State Senator Thomas, who was unable to attend the press conference in person, sent the following statement:
“I do not support this discriminatory and divisive proposal. Residents of Detroit need to be careful that they are not duped into voting for the measure based on the misleading advertising paid for by out-of-state interests. As we continue to build one Michigan, I encourage residents to oppose Proposal 2 and continue to support tolerance.”
A statement from State Senator Clarke, who was also unable to be present at the conference, said in part:
“Proposal 2 is drafted too broadly and would allow the amendment to be used to take away health benefits from gay and straight families that receive domestic partner benefits from employers, eliminate these benefits from unions’ collective bargaining agreements, and limit the rights of local government and public colleges and universities to set their own policies…I feel this ballot measure has been driven by misguided politics, not good public policy, and sends a message of intolerance toward members of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender communities.”
Detroit City Council Members JoAnn Watson, Sharon McPhail and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi were scheduled to appear at the conference but were detained by Council business.
Proposal 2 is losing in local city councils as well as with state political and union leaders. The city councils of both Ferndale and Ypsilanti voted in favor of resolutions opposing Proposal 2 during early October meetings. The city council of Hazel Park was scheduled to take up a similar resolution on Oct. 12.