Michigan

Michigan’s Lame Duck Session Ends Without Passage of “Right to Discriminate” Bill

In a victory for LGBT equality and genuine religious liberty, Michigan’s state legislature ended its 2014 lame duck session last night without passing a bill that would have allowed individuals and businesses to cite religious beliefs to bypass state anti-discrimination laws.

The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act would have allowed business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers, and was initially introduced as a counter to a proposed state bill that would protect LGBT people from discrimination. But while the anti-discrimination bill never even moved, the discriminatory bill passed in the House.

After the bill was introduced in the state legislature, PFAW members and local activists mobilized to call lawmakers and raise awareness of the bill’s dangerous consequences for LGBT Michiganders. Efforts like this are not unique to Michigan and come in the wake of this year’s 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case. This legislation is part of a nationwide campaign by the Right to hijack freedom of religion and use it as a weapon to deny Americans their fundamental rights.

Fortunately, the bill -- which has been called the “right to discriminate” bill by some – did not even come to the State Senate floor for a vote.

This was the second of two victories in the Michigan state legislature’s lame duck session. Earlier this month, Michigan Republicans introduced a bill that would change the way the state’s electoral votes are counted in presidential elections. This strategy isn’t unique to Michigan, but is part of a larger right-wing effort to use Republican election victories in blue and swing states to consolidate political power by rigging the Electoral College, tilting the playing field to the GOP’s advantage. Last year, PFAW helped beat back similar plans in Pennsylvania and Virginia that would have changed the way those states apportion their electoral votes. In Michigan, we were just as engaged, with our members and staff attending committee hearings and lobbying legislators.

With the passage of a key deadline last week, the Electoral College rigging bill is also effectively dead for the year. But its proponents can (and likely will) bring it up again in the 2015 session – as they may also do with the “right to discriminate” bill. Michigan’s lame duck session has ended without either of these insidious bills becoming law, but the fight is far from over. We expect to see similar state-level legislative attacks from the Right throughout the next year. PFAW is proud to be a leader in the ongoing fight against right-wing extremism, and we’re ready to keep working in defense of progressive values in 2015 and beyond.

PFAW

GOP Lawmaker: Thanksgiving Reminds Us To Oppose Gay Rights

Michigan Republicans have delayed progress on a measure to include sexual orientation as a legally protected category in the 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the state’s anti-discrimination law. State representative-elect Todd Courser has emerged as one of the leading opponents of the effort, warning this week that the measure would give “special rights to the LGBT community, while placing the rights of religious groups and individuals in peril.”

His Thanksgiving message to supporters last week was even more blunt, citing the story of the Pilgrims, or at least the myth that they came in search of religious freedom, as a reason to oppose protections for gays and lesbians.

“Thanksgiving is about the impossible journey of a small group of worshipers who took flight from oppression to have the freedom to practice their religion without the interference of government,” Courser wrote in the message, “we are now, if this expansion to Elliott Larsen passes at the hands of my own party, at the point where the group that will be discriminated against is Christians and any other faith that chooses to stand against the LGBT activists — we will no longer have the freedom to practice our religion or have freedom of speech that our Founders personally sacrificed to give us.”

Warning of an attempt to “destroy freedoms of religion and speech for our children and their children” and “institutionalize discrimination against Christians and other faiths,” Courser wrote that lawmakers who back the effort are “promoting evil.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would normally send a message from my family to yours and avoid any talk about politics on Thanksgiving, but I feel impressed to take this moment and speak about the end of religious liberty and freedom of speech at the hands of our Republican Speaker in the State House. Thanksgiving is about the impossible journey of a small group of worshipers who took flight from oppression to have the freedom to practice their religion without the interference of government; we are now, if this expansion to Elliott Larsen passes at the hands of my own party, at the point where the group that will be discriminated against is Christians and any other faith that chooses to stand against the LGBT activists – we will no longer have the freedom to practice our religion or have freedom of speech that our Founders personally sacrificed to give us.

The Effort by the GOP to wrap this Expansion of Elliott Larsen in some weak religious exemption is akin to taking a Cheap Pig and Slapping a Cheap Lipstick Makeover on it; it is still a pig and it still has cheap lipstick on it. This is the granting of protected class status to the LGBT community and in doing so, it kills religious liberty and freedom of speech! Don't be fooled…and don't let your rep off the hook for standing SILENT as this rolls through the House. Ask them where their press releases on this issue are...encourage them to stand against this rouge action by the Republican Speaker who has been paid a small fortune and is partnering with the LGBT activists to destroy religious liberty and freedom of speech!

If this expansion to Elliott Larsen passes it will institutionalize discrimination against Christians and other faiths and make freedom of religion and freedom of speech subservient to the wishes of the homosexual lobby.



Please do not lose sight of this; it is the Republican Leadership actively moving the Democrat’s agenda, having partnered with the LGBT community to move this liberty killing legislation forward. If you don't tell your rep how you feel it’s going to happen! Then two years from now they will simply tell you they stood against it quietly.

"To not speak is to speak and to not act is to act..." For me it is time to speak...



We, as Republican Elected Officials cannot allow leaders, who exist by the power they derived from our districts, to promote evil, without standing up and forcing the issues into the public; if we do then we ourselves are complicit in this unholy alliance. Right now, it is the Republican, not the Democrat, leadership who is moving to grant protected class status to the LGBT community and in so doing destroy freedoms of religion and speech for our children and their children. We cannot stand silently as this happens as it is the very principle that founded this great nation. It is the Republicans, who are now termed out and leaving that are amassing capital for themselves to pursue cushy lobbying jobs or next election runs, who are promoting this evil. We, as leaders, are held to account for how and when we use our influence, especially when we refuse to stand up and call these actions out in our own party as evil.

Michigan House of Representatives Passes ‘Right To Discriminate’ Bill

The Michigan House of Representatives today passed a bill explicitly designed by its sponsor to allow discrimination against LGBT people. The proposed law, the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would mirror the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) at issue in the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby case, would allow individuals to cite their own religious beliefs to bypass state anti-discrimination laws.

“Religious liberty is a core American value,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, “but this law isn’t written to defend an individual’s right to practice his or her own religion: it’s designed to legalize discrimination. Even more disturbing is the fact that the sponsor of this law explicitly says that he proposed it in order to weaken anti-discrimination protections for gay people that are under consideration. That’s a gross perversion of what religious liberty actually is.”

In addition to allowing individuals to ignore essential anti-discrimination laws, the law potentially permits individuals to exempt themselves from other laws they disapprove of on the basis of their religion. As a result of the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the federal RFRA in Hobby Lobby, and provisions of the bill itself, individuals could effectively claim exemption based on general offense to their religious beliefs without showing a truly substantial burden on their actual exercise of religion. The results could range from pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, to hotel owners refusing to provide rooms to unmarried couples, to landlords refusing to rent homes to single parents.

“Laws that truly defend religious liberty serve as shields to prevent the government from impinging on our essential First Amendment rights,” said Keegan. “This law is a sword that allows individuals to harm others.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert on religious liberty issues, contact Layne Amerikaner at 202-467-4999 or media@pfaw.org. 

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PFAW Delivers 50,000 Petitions Against Electoral College Rigging in Michigan

If you don’t like the outcome, change the rules of the game? Not so fast, PFAW members in Michigan told their elected officials today.

This afternoon PFAW delivered approximately 50,000 petitions against electoral college rigging to a meeting of the Michigan House Committee on Elections and Ethics. The proposed bill (HB 5974) would change Michigan’s process for distributing electoral votes from a winner-take-all system — the standard process in states across the nation — to a system that would split the state’s electoral votes, effectively rewriting the rules to help the GOP presidential candidate. This is a continuation of an effort we saw after the 2012 election in some traditionally blue presidential election states where Republicans control the state government. Not surprisingly, Republicans in states like Texas (38 electoral votes) are not seeking a similar change.

One representative from Grand Rapids told the Associated Press that he believes the public will see this partisan ploy “for what it is… a brazen attempt to rig the political system.”

As many Republican legislators across the country continue to support proposals making it harder for people who traditionally vote Democrat to cast a ballot, this latest push to rig elections in the GOP’s favor may come as no surprise.

But PFAW Regional Political Coordinator Scott Foval, who joined 34 Michigan PFAW members today at a meeting of the state’s House Committee on Elections and Ethics, said that Michiganders won’t stand by while the Republican Party tries to manipulate the election process. “The people are watching, and will hold you as elected representatives accountable for enacting purely partisan and undemocratic legislation,” said Foval.

PFAW

Anti-Gay Crusader Gary Glenn Wins Seat In Michigan State Legislature

Gordon Klingenschmitt may be the most virulently anti-gay candidate to win a state legislative seat this election cycle, but Gary Glenn of Michigan comes in a close second. Glenn, the author of his state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, may not send out warnings about how gay people want to behead Christians or how Democrats are mandating child sexual abuse as Klingenschmitt does, but he has his own special brand of anti-gay politics.

Glenn, a former head of the American Family Association’s Michigan chapter, wants to recriminalize homosexuality, which he says is “a proven threat to public health and safety,” and even filed an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act, falsely alleging that the law would “criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians.”

Glenn has denounced efforts to curb anti-LGBT bullying in schools as a “Trojan Horse” plot by “homosexual activists” who want to “segregate students” and suggested that schools ban clubs like the Gay-Straight Alliance for “promoting behavior that [is] self-destructive and harmful to young people.” Instead, Glenn thinks that if schools “truly cared about young people who are ensnared by deviant behavior, they would tell them the truth that homosexuality is harmful and to be avoided.”

In previous election cycles, Glenn has attempted to defeat gay Michigan candidates. In a robocall against one gay candidate, he used the word “homosexual” no less than ten times.

He has also urged businesses to refuse to hire “individuals who engage in homosexual behavior given all of its severe medical consequences,” telling employers that “it’s not really bright to engage in behavior that puts you at dramatically higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse and AIDS and cancer and hepatitis, and according to various sources, premature death.”

Glenn even demanded that governors ignore court rulings that strike down same-sex marriage bans.

Anti-Gay Pastors Say They Are 'Ready To Go To Jail' In Defiance Of Nondiscrimination Act

Pastors aligned with the Religious Right are still insisting that they will be thrown in prison any day now.

Today a group of Michigan pastors held a rally to declare that they are getting “ready to go to jail” if a non-discrimination bill passes the state legislature. Stacy Swimp warned that the “anti-freedom” gay rights movement is bent on putting pastors behind bars, while another pastor claimed that his “rights are being threatened.”

The group came out to protest a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state’s nondiscrimination law, the 1976 Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which already covers categories including “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.”

One Michigan Republican politician — who has a past record of breaking into cars in order to masturbate to the sound of their engines — urged people to leave the state if the bill wins final approval.

PrideSource has the details of today’s rally:

Pastors and Christian leaders gathered on the steps of the state capitol Wednesday morning to demand the state legislature refuse to amend Michigan's civil rights act to include the LGBT community.

"The homosexual movement is an anti-freedom movement," declared Stacy Swimp, a right wing advocate and minister in Flint and Jackson. Swimp is also a convicted felon. He spent time in Michigan's prison system after being convicted in 1994 of assault with intent to murder.



Pastor Tim Berlin of Warren told the crowd, inclusion of the LGBT community in the civil rights act was "a dangerous slippery slope to an unknown destination."

Bridgeport minister R.B. Ouellette said the group did not seek "to deny anyone their rights," adding, "Our rights are being threatened."



Swimp said if the amendment is passed, Christians will disobey the law.

"We must be ready to go to jail if we resist," he told those gathered.

GOP 'Cranking' Enthusiast Tells Michiganders To Flee 'Homosexual Agenda'

A Michigan Republican running for an open seat in the state house, who briefly dropped out of the race after it was revealed that he had a record of criminal convictions for breaking into cars and masturbating to the sound of the engines, or “cranking,” told residents this month to flee the state if the legislature approves an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination bill.

PrideSource reports that Jordan Haskins took to Facebook to blast an attempt to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, urging his supporters to leave the state in protest.

"If the state wants to trample religious freedom, we go somewhere else where our values are welcome," the candidate wrote on his Facebook page Oct. 8. "Michigan loses tax money, economic performance, jobs, etc. if they choose to be entrenched with the homosexual agenda, it's time for conservative christians (sic) to vote with their feet and their dollars."

In another post, Haskins boasted of his fight against the “homosexual movement.”

I helped lead the effort to fend off the homosexual movement here in Saginaw along with some inner city pastors. These are all things that God has allowed me to add to my resume/ repotiore of my life experiences.



God has totally turned me around from the stubborn teenage/ young person that I used to be. I can still be hardheaded at times, but that is because I don't want to see people in Saginaw hurting and suffering anymore. I still believe that we can be a part of the Michigan comeback and I believe that as long as there are those that love God here, we can win souls and see God move in this city and state.

Stacy Swimp: Supreme Court Marriage Ruling Would Bring About Last Days

Anti-gay activist Stacy Swimp, a Michigan pastor, claimed last month that a Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality throughout the country would bring America into the biblical Last Days.

If the Supreme Court were to issue a favorable marriage equality ruling, Swimp told Cleveland anti-gay activist Molly Smith in a September 23 interview, “I see America looking like what Jesus said the world looking like. He said, ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son returns.’”

“You see,” he continued, “in Noah’s day, you had complete lawlessness, men did what was right in their own eyes, according to the Bible, and there were no moral boundaries that men respected. And so we are at the threshold in our global society.”

“If this happens to become law, you’re going to see complete chaos and lawlessness,” he said, adding that such a ruling would lead to “broken families” and “escalated crime.”

Later in the interview, Swimp argued that “homosexuality, lesbianism” is just “one component of lawlessness that we’re seeing in our society” and that the LGBT rights movement and “Islam and the global terrorism” are “working together to silence the gospel.”

He added that Christians are facing persecution in America today, while Muslims and Buddhists face none: “You don’t see Muslims, by the way, who disagree with marriage protection being persecuted in America. You don’t hear about Buddhists and all these other religions being persecuted while fighting for their religious freedom.”

“That’s right, it’s us as the Christians,” Smith agreed.

Anti-Gay Pastor: LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill Legalizes Pedophilia, Destroys 'Freedom As We Know It'

During a Friday interview with the Tea Party News Network, Stacy Swimp, a Michigan pastor and anti-gay activist, denounced an effort in the Michigan state legislature to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights law, which already bars discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, sex, weight and marital status.

Speaking with Tim Constantine of “The Capitol Hill Show,” Swimp alleged that “frauds” in both the Democratic and Republican parties are “set against Christian liberty, our Christian right of freedom of expression and conscience.”

“We need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to stop them from amending our civil rights bill to include this civil rights language, or my friends, freedom as we know it will no longer exist,” he said.

While the amendment defines sexual orientation as heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, Swimp said that it would actually legalize pedophilia: “The fact is that pedophilia in fact is a sexual orientation, so I suppose that they intend to include that as a civil right.”

Ted Cruz And Mike Huckabee Follow David Lane's Christian-Nation Road Show To Michigan

Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking.

In spite of his extremism, Lane regularly gets Republican presidential candidates to attend his American Renewal Project events. On Monday night, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee spoke at a Michigan Renewal Project “Pastors Policy Briefing.”

Lane generally tries to stay out of the media spotlight, unless it’s for a friendly face like the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. Even the media-hungry Cruz and Huckabee slipped quietly into Lansing for the event, which the Detroit News picked up on a few days later.

Also speaking at the event was Chad Connelly, the former head of the South Carolina GOP who was hired by the Republican National Committee last year to strengthen the party’s relationship with conservative evangelicals. According to news reports at the time, the Southern Baptist Connelly was brought on to energize evangelicals, some of whom were feeling disillusioned by recent national GOP candidates and by what they saw as the party’s “softening” on marriage equality.

Among the other speakers listed in a promotion for Monday’s event in the August newsletter of the American Decency Association:  right-wing radio host Dennis Prager, “historians” David Barton and Bill Federer, the American Family Association’s Don Wildmon, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, former Congressman Bob McEwen, and Pastor Laurence White of the Texas Restoration Project.

It seems as if Cruz is equally at home in front of the camera and behind closed doors. The Detroit News reports that he “made a quiet visit to Michigan Sunday and Monday, meeting with Republican Party activists in events that were kept hush-hush until photos of the tea party stalwart and potential 2016 presidential candidate surfaced on social media.”

In addition to Lane’s event, the paper reports, “Cruz appeared at four events over the two-day period organized by Ron Weiser, the Ann Arbor developer and national Republican fundraiser with connections throughout the country.” The paper says Weisner is seeking the GOP nomination for a seat on the University of Michigan board of regents.  Among other attendees at Cruz events were Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Tea Party activist Wendy Day, who recently lost a GOP primary bid for seat in the state House.

Young Progressive Leaders Win Primary Races in Michigan, Show Payoff of Investing in Youth

A successful movement begins with a plan for change. People For the American Way’s plan is simple: identify people with an interest and a passion for service who represent the diversity of their communities, equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for success, and offer long-term support and access to a network of like-minded leaders.

This summer’s primary elections prove this plan is not just theoretical. It stands up to the test. Its success can be seen last week in the state of Michigan — a prime battleground for state and national issues ranging from marriage equality to workers’ rights to women’s rights — where a group of young, progressive leaders won their primary elections.

One candidate for a Michigan House of Representatives seat is Jon Hoadley. He’s an openly-gay man, 30 years old, who is running for office for the first time. He’s also an alumnus of affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Youth Leadership Programs – Young People For and the Front Line Leaders Academy. Last week Hoadley won his primary race for the District 60 seat in the Michigan State House of Representatives and, if he wins the general election in November, will become a member of the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network.

And Hoadley is in good company. Last month PFAW Action Fund endorsed a slate of young progressive candidates through the Young Elected Progressives endorsement program. Together they represent a progressive direction for the state. PFAW is proud to support these leaders as they move towards the general election in November or toward future efforts to advance progressive values in Michigan.
                               
If the 2014 primary elections and the slate of candidates, including Hoadley, running for office this year are an indication of the payoff of PFAW’s investment in young leaders, then we are off to a great start. It shows that what we have works. We’ve made real change. But it also proves the necessity of continued investment in progressive infrastructure to make a difference on these critical issues, now and in the long term.

We’re at a time when the influence of money in politics goes unchecked, access to the ballot box is challenged, and the far Right is becoming increasingly extreme, intolerant, and out of touch. The individuals endorsed in PFAW’s Young Elected Progressives campaign are standing up to defend and lead with the values of freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

PFAW

Anti-Gay Activist Gary Glenn Wins GOP Primary In Michigan

American Family Association of Michigan president Gary Glenn won a Republican primary for a seat in the Michigan state House yesterday, making him potentially the second most virulently anti-gay GOP candidate in the country, behind Colorado demon-hunter Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Glenn was a prominent supporter of Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and was a big backer of his “very special friend” Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid. As the head of the American Family Association’s Michigan affiliate, Glenn has pushed any number of extreme anti-gay positions:

This, of course, is all run of the mill for someone associated with the American Family Association.

PFAW and Allies Host Young Political Leaders Event at Netroots Nation in Detroit

As Netroots Nation wrapped up its visit to the Motor City on Saturday, PFAW partnered with LaunchProgress and the Michigan Democratic Party’s Youth Caucus to celebrate a strong slate of young progressive candidates running for office in the state.

The Young Political Leaders Happy Hour featured many of Michigan’s young progressive candidates and staff, who came together to network and talk politics following the closing session at Netroots Nation. In June PFAW announced its Michgan slate of Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program endorsees, some of whom were able to join the party at the end of a long day of knocking on doors in their districts.  

Thanks to all who joined us in Detroit!

PFAW

PFAW Action Fund Endorses Young Progressive Candidates in Michigan

People For the American Way Action Fund today endorsed a slate of young progressive candidates running for the Michigan State Legislature. The endorsements are part of PFAW Action Fund’s Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program that supports progressive candidates age 35 and younger. The Michigan candidates endorsed today are a diverse mix of progressive leaders who are positioned to make Michigan’s legislature be more inclusive and accountable.

“These candidates are the best and brightest young progressive candidates running for the legislature in Michigan,” said PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager. “They are people-oriented folks from all walks of life who will fight for social, economic, and environmental justice, and promote equality for all. Their leadership in their communities demonstrates a progressive vision that will benefit all Michiganders.”

People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse the following Michigan YEP candidates for 2014:

•         Stephanie Chang – MI House District 6
•         Jon Hoadley – MI House District 60
•         David Knezek – MI Senate District 5
•         Kristy Pagan – MI House District 21
•         Rebecca Thompson – MI District 1
•         Robert Wittenberg – MI House District 27

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People For the American Way Action Fund Endorses Young Progressive Candidates in Michigan

People For the American Way Action Fund today announced its endorsements of a slate of young progressive candidates running for the Michigan State Legislature. The endorsees include a diverse mix of 35-and-younger candidates running for the Michigan state House of Representatives and state Senate, representing a new generation of progressive leaders who will put Michigan’s legislature back-on-track towards a common sense, inclusive, accountable public policy agenda for the state’s future. Their leadership represents a progressive vision that will benefit all Michiganders as they fight for social, economic, environmental justice and equality for all.

The endorsements are part of People For the American Way Action Fund’s Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program. YEP evaluates and endorses young progressive candidates age 35-and-younger in their bids for elected office around the U.S. at all levels.

People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse these Michigan YEP candidates for 2014:

Stephanie Chang – MI House District 6

Running for Michigan’s House of Representatives District 6, Stephanie Chang is a Michigander whose dedication to the community has benefited many. Chang has worked around the state advocating for Affirmative Action, serving as a mentor for Detroit Asian Youth Project, and promoting a fair justice system. Chang’s knowledge and breadth of experience in Michigan make her an important leader for the state as she fights for social, economic, and environmental justice. Visit Stephanie’s page for more details.

Jon Hoadley – MI House District 60

Jon Hoadley is the clear choice to represent Michigan’s 60th District in the state House of Representatives. Hoadley, a small business owner and member of several advocacy organizations in Kalamazoo, is deeply ingrained and in tune with the needs of his community, which makes him the ideal representative. He has already worked to better Kalamazoo advocating for full LGBTQ equality, creating strong and sustainable public schools, and protecting the environment. Visit Jon’s page for more details.

David Knezek – MI Senate District 5

David Knezek is running for Michigan state Senate’s 5th District and has proven that he is the ideal candidate for the position. Knezek is a true leader, having been promoted to the rank of Sergeant during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the University of Michigan-Dearborn, he was elected Student Government President, and in his senior year of college he was elected to be a Michigan state representative. Knezek has proven that he will advocate for his community and improve education, public safety, and job opportunities for Michigan citizens. Visit David’s page for more details.

Kristy Pagan – MI House District 21

Born and bred in Michigan, Kristy Pagan is the ideal candidate for the 21st District of Michigan’s state House of Representatives. She has worked in Washington, D.C. as a legislative aide and a national grassroots organizer. Her determination to serve coupled with her knowledge of and dedication to Michigan will serve the state well. Pagan is a true progressive, and has both the resolve and the passion to reform Michigan’s educational system, advocate for women and children, and improve job growth. Visit Kristy's page for more details.

Rebecca Thompson – MI District 1

Rebecca Thompson is running for election to the 1st District of the Michigan state House of Representatives. Thompson was born and raised in Detroit, and overcame experiences with poverty and homelessness to become a leader in the community. She has worked tirelessly to better Detroit for everyone, using her own experiences to positively impact those around her. Thompson is passionate about affordable education, improving safety, protecting women’s rights, and advocating for her community. Visit Rebecca's page for more details.

Robert Wittenberg – MI House District 27
                                                                                                                     
Robert Wittenberg is running to represent District 27 in the Michigan state House of Representatives. After being inspired by his parents’ and brothers’ work, he is determined to follow in their footsteps and serve his community. As a public servant, he advocates for full equality for the LGBTQ community, increased public transportation, and access to healthcare for all. Visit Robert's page for more details.

PFAW

Michigan Pastor Claims 'Enemies Of God' Are Behind Marriage Equality

Stacy Swimp, the Michigan pastor who has berated homosexuality as “genocidal” and “destructive,” told Janet Mefferd last Friday that marriage equality is a project of the “enemies of God.”

“The press, throughout the annals of modern history, has been used by the enemies of God to change culture and by using cultural change or influencing cultural change, the enemies of God have been able to create a moral collapse in our society and in our political realm,” Swimp said, before railing against “ravaged activist judges.”

Swimp has recently protested a Michigan court ruling in favor of marriage equality and a recent push to include sexual orientation protections in anti-discrimination laws.

GOP Congressman Set To Appear With Activist Who Wants Obama Killed For Treason

Republican congressman Kerry Bentivolio is set to appear at a right-wing conference taking place May 16-18 with an activist who believes President Obama should be killed. “The Freedom Summit: Prepare to Govern!,” organized by the Michigan Conservative Political Action Conference, is hosting the Michigan congressman along with Jim Garrow, a conservative conspiracy theorist who claims he used to be a US intelligence agent.

Other scheduled speakers include Paul Vallely, the former general who floated the idea of leading an anti-Obama “revolution”; RNC Committeeman Dave Agema, notorious for his anti-gay remarks; anti-Obama conspiracy theorist Trevor Loudon; conservative activist Cleta Mitchell and far-right professor and Michele Bachmann’s mentor John Eidsmoe.

Garrow has appeared on several fringe media outlets to promote his claim that Obama plotted to kill 300 million people through a nuclear EMP attack on America, which he said was attempted at the behest of George Soros.

He even alleged that the Obama administration is preparing to launch a new anti-American plot with the help of aliens and Canadian troops, warning that Obama seeks “to wipe us out.”

Garrow has claimed that President Obama and administration officials are “guilty of treason” and therefore “you’re supposed to hang them.” “Obama himself has been a traitor and been involved in treason against the Republic, for which you know the penalty is death,” he said.

He believes Obama “needs to be in fact tried for treason and of course the finality of that is a man gets either put up against a wall and shot or hung.”

Garrow also said Obama is like a “rabid dog” who needs to be “put down for the protection of the innocent and to prevent the spread of disease,” and in an interview with Erik Rush wondered why White House officials are “not going to be stoned to death or hung from gallows.”

Unsurprinsingly, he has repeatedly called for a military coup and a “guerrilla war” against Obama, or as he calls him “Bathhouse Barry.”

“Why is he still sitting in the Oval Office and not in chains and under arrest,” Garrow asked in one Facebook post.

When not calling for Obama’s death, Garrow concocts conspiracy theories about how Obama blew up the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, plans to impose Sharia law and guillotine executions and will declare himself to be the Twelfth Imam.

While it seems that Rep. Bentivolio, who has said he “dreams” of impeaching Obama, is set to share a stage with a conspiracy theorist who has made repeated statements demanding Obama’s execution, he wouldn’t be the first GOP congressman to link up with such an activist, as it was only last year that Rep. Steve Stockman invited Ted Nugent to the State of the Union Address after the musician called for Obama to “suck on my machine gun.”

Sotomayor's Schuette Dissent

Justice Sotomayor analyzes a state constitutional ban on affirmative action through the lens of history and the reality of race in America.
PFAW Foundation

Herman Cain's Website Upset That 'Vagina Woman' Running For Michigan Lt. Gov

Dan Calabrese, the editor-in-chief of Herman Cain’s Best of Cain website, is appalled that Michigan Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Mark Schauer has picked “Vagina Woman” Lisa Brown to be his running mate.

In 2012, Republicans in the Michigan House barred Brown, then a state representative, from speaking on the House floor after she used the word “vagina” in a speech against an anti-choice bill.

In a column titled “Democrats pick The Vagina Woman for Michigan's Lt. Governor” (url: “democrats-nominate-the-vagina”), Calabrese writes that Brown and Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis are “highly un-accomplished” and that their “main claim to fame is having talked publicly about their own sexual organs.”

“[I]t's worth taking a look when a candidate chooses a running mate with nothing much to recommend her except the fact that she once angrily mentioned one of her own body parts during a legislative session,” Calabrese adds, also objecting to the fact that Brown, who is now a county clerk, issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples this month in the days before a marriage equality ruling was stayed.

It is not normally worth much news coverage when a candidate picks a running mate, although it usually gets a fair amount because political junkies tend to be obsessed with such minutia. But it's worth taking a look when a candidate chooses a running mate with nothing much to recommend her except the fact that she once angrily mentioned one of her own body parts during a legislative session, and that brings us to Mark Schauer, Michigan's presumptive Democrat nominee for governor, and his new running mate, Lisa Brown[.]

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But it's the same thing they did in Texas, where the highly un-accomplished Wendy Davis is being touted for governor because she got a lot of media attention for staging a talk-a-thon in protest of restrictions on abortion. That's not working out too well, as Davis is way behind in the polls and her campaign has been beset by revelations about her supposedly inspirational life story. But that's what you get when you choose a candidate based on personal media narrative - especially one as flimsly as this - rather than actual qualifications.

Mark Schauer is no great prize either. He served one term in Congress before being turned out in the 2010 Red Wave election, but he was there long enough to vote for Obama's massive "stimulus" boondoggle and, of course, ObamaCare. He now spends his time engaging in every conventional Democrat pander of the moment, including demands that the minimum wage be raised and lots of blather about the "middle class" and so forth. And now he's proving that he knows the current Democrat playbooks very well, which is why he has selected the latest so-called victim of the "war on women" on the apparent belief that voters want to put the fortunes of their states in the hands of people whose main claim to fame is having talked publicly about their own sexual organs.

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