Civil Rights Commission Calls Gay Marriage Amendment 'Hateful'

Wed. October 27, 2004 12:00 AM by

Lansing, Michigan - The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is urging voters to reject amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The Commission voted 5-2 this week to oppose the amendment, that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

"I urge voters to forcefully reject this hateful, unnecessary, redundant, ambiguous, disgraceful, shameful proposal," said Commission Vice Chairman Mark Bernstein, who proposed the resolution.

Bernstein's sentiments were echoed by commission Chairwoman Valerie Simmons.

"I do not believe this constitutional amendment is needed to protect the institution of marriage," Simmons said. "I think the state Legislature has already done its job with respect to that," she added, referring to a law that already bans same-sex marriage in Michigan.

The commission's resolution says that "amending the Michigan Constitution is an extraordinary event that should allow for greater rights and freedoms, not fewer."

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution of 1963 to enforce the guarantees against discrimination laid out in the Constitution.

Opponents of Proposal 2, which will be on the Nov. 2 ballot, say it could have a detrimental effect on domestic partner benefits offered by public and private employers to both gay and heterosexual couples.

"The Michigan Civil Rights Commission looked below the surface of [the amendment] and they saw that it would put discrimination into our Constitution and take existing benefits away from Michigan families, including children," said Dana Houle, spokesman for Coalition for a Fair Michigan, the campaign opposing the passage of the gay marriage ban.

The amendment question will appear on next week's ballot in Michigan.

© 2004

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