DETROIT FREE PRESS: Nothing Dishonest About Gay Marriage Ban

Dear AFA-Michigan supporter,

The original headline Pat and I submitted with the guest opinion below — published Thursday in the Detroit Free Press — was “Marriage amendment supporters right all along,” a factually true statement proven by the content of the opinion itself.

Free Press editorial page editors, however, refused to restrain their own biased twisting of the issue, changing the headline to a defensive denial of “dishonesty” and imprecisely labeling the Marriage Protection Amendment a “gay marriage ban.”

Please note in the first paragraph of the opinion that the Marriage Protection Amendment’s language does not include the words “gay” or “ban.” Instead, it constitutionally reaffirms the legal definition of what marriage is, not all the multiple variations of what it is not.

To illustrate the imprecision of the Free Press’s characterization, please note that by constitutionally defining marriage as “the union of one man and one woman,” the Marriage Protection Amendment also prohibits polygamy or group marriage. Thus, given the Free Press editorial page’s insistence on a headline that refers to “banning” something which marriage is not, the headline could just as accurately (and imprecisely) have been, “Nothing dishonest about polygamy ban.”

Suggestion to Free Press editors: stop editing the words authored by those who submit guest opinions to reflect your own biases, which falsely makes it appear that that’s how they (the authors) characterized the issue.

And thanks to you for your ongoing support!

Gary Signature
Gary Glenn

Detroit, Michigan
July 12, 2007

Nothing dishonest about gay marriage ban
by Gary Glenn and Patrick Gillen

Michigan voters in 2004 overwhelmingly approved a Marriage Protection Amendment to our state Constitution: “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.”

No matter how often homosexual activists and Free Press editorial writers claim otherwise, supporters of the amendment clearly stated before the 2004 election that it would prohibit public employers from offering benefits to homosexual partners of government employees based on recognizing such relationships as equal or similar to marriage.

Regarding “employee benefits accorded to domestic partners by some municipalities and universities,” the Free Press reported in September 2004: “Proponents and opponents of the amendment say they would be prohibited to the extent they mimic benefits for married employees.”

The campaign committee opposing the marriage amendment issued a pre-election news release: “The Coalition for a Fair Michigan said they were happy to find common ground with the American Family Association of Michigan, a lead proponent of the proposed amendment that would ban legal recognition of any relationships other than opposite-sex marriage. …(B)oth sides agreed the amendment would … eliminate government-sanctioned domestic partnership benefits.”

The Free Press itself provided proof of voter understanding and intent, reporting in October 2004 that its own poll showed “support for (the amendment) was at 53% … (while) … even more (54%) say local governments and universities should not provide benefits, such as health and life insurance, to the partners of gay and lesbian employees.”

The central purpose of the Marriage Protection Amendment was to protect the unique social and legal standing of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman by prohibiting government recognition of any other relationship as equal or similar to marriage. As amendment supporters said before and after the election, government recognition is the issue, not benefits. And nothing about the amendment prevents government employers from offering benefits to anyone they please, so long as it’s not based on recognizing homosexual relationships as equal or similar to marriage.

Yet ever since Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment, the losers in that election have brazenly tried to rewrite history, misrepresenting and falsely accusing amendment supporters in the process.

For example, marriage amendment campaign leader Marlene Elwell truthfully explained before the election that the amendment has “nothing to do with taking benefits away.”

For 2 1/2 years, homosexual activists and their media allies have falsely accused Elwell of lying. Until now.

Last month, prominent amendment opponents responded to a state Appeals Court ruling by finally admitting that what we and Elwell and Attorney General Mike Cox have said on this issue has been right all along.

Jay Kaplan of the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, who filed the lawsuit challenging the amendment, admitted that “even under the Appeals Court ruling, benefits can be offered but have to be done in a way which does not recognize same-sex partners or relationships.” Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality, a homosexual activist group, admitted that the court “did not say that health insurance coverage for domestic partners is illegal. The court said that public employers cannot use criteria that recognizes the domestic partner relationship.”

Public employers who earlier claimed otherwise dramatically announced that they plan to continue benefits simply by rewriting eligibility requirements. Other opponents now admit the truth. Free Press editorial writers should join them, by editorially apologizing for over two years of falsely accusing Marriage Protection Amendment leaders and falsely claiming Michiganians weren’t smart enough to know what they were doing when they voted to constitutionally protect marriage.

GARY GLENN of Midland is president of the American Family Association of Michigan. PATRICK GILLEN of Ann Arbor is litigation counsel for the Thomas More Law Center. They are coauthors of Michigan’s voter-approved Marriage Protection Amendment. Write to them in care of the Free Press Editorial Page, 600 W. Fort St., Detroit 48226 or

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