A blog that I post on whenever I see something that makes me want to go off on a Republican (Libertarian every once in a while) rant. I will cover stories from all over the nation and world, but I will try to cover as many stories about my home state of Michigan as I can (I'll also talk a lot about Texas, because Texas is awesome!).
I am currently watching the election for Republican National Committee Chairman. Currently, the RNC members are voting.
UPDATE (11:40 A.M. EST): They are now going up and depositing their ballots (just like “kindergarten graduation” according to the Co-Chair, Jo Ann Davidson, from Ohio).
UPDATE (11:44 A.M. EST): We’re a little over half-way through the ballots being cast.
UPDATE (11:49 A.M. EST): We’re now done with the voting. The ballots are now being counted.
UPDATE (12:05 P.M. EST): They’re annnouncing the results.
UPDATE (12:09 P.M. EST): Here are the results of the first round of voting:
Mike Duncan: 52 votes
Michael Steele: 46 votes
Katon Dawson: 28 votes
Saul Anuzis: 22 votes
Ken Blackwell: 20 votes
With no candidates having reached 85 votes (a simple majority), another round of voting will occur. The committee is in a 15 minute recess.
UPDATE (12:33 P.M. EST): Calling the roll again.
UPDATE (12:42 P.M. EST): I lied – they’re voting now. Almost done casting the ballots.
UPDATE (12:45 P.M. EST): The ballots are now being counted.
UPDATE (12:59 P.M. EST): The following are the results for the second roud of balloting (numbers in parenthesis indicate: votes gained or lost from last round / votes gained or lost since first round):
Mike Duncan: 48 votes (-3/-3)
Michael Steele: 48 votes (+2/+2)
Katon Dawson: 29 votes (+1/+1)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (+2/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 19 votes (-1/-1)
UPDATE (1:12 P.M. EST): OK, I guess it’s some time for some analysis. It’s pretty safe to say (in my opinion) that Duncan is done. He had to rely on the first couple of rounds to get really close, and he didn’t. He’ll have a huge drop-off over the next 2 rounds of balloting. I really don’t know where his people will go, but I’m guessing that it’ll probably go to Saul Anuzis and Katon Dawson. Maybe a few will go to Blackwell, but I think people may not “waste” their votes on him since he’s at the bottom right now, but who knows.
UPDATE (1:31 P.M. EST): They just finished the third round of voting and are now counting up the ballots.
UPDATE (1:42 P.M. EST): third round of voting:
Mike Duncan: 44 votes (-4/-8)
Michael Steele: 51 votes (+3/+5)
Katon Dawson: 34 votes (+5/+6)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (0/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (-1/-5)
Blackwell and Duncan are done. I’m surprised that more people went for Steele here. It looks like Anuzis is done, but Dawson could be in this depending on who drops out and when.
UPDATE (1:51 P.M. EST): OK, time for more discussion – I think Blackwell will drop by round 6 of balloting, and that should give Steele enough votes to push him over the edge. I think Steele’s biggest competition now is Dawson, but I think Steele’s got it.
UPDATE (2:13 P.M. EST): A friend just passed on to me rumors that a deal may be in the works right now.
UPDATE (2:13 P.M. EST): Mike Duncan is speaking – about to drop?
UPDATE (2: 17 P.M. EST): Duncan just dropped out and is now thanking his campaign staff.
UPDATE (2:19 P.M. EST): There was a motion for a recess, but i was voted down by a voice vote. Voting has now started.
UPDATE (2:22 P.M. EST): Apparently the co-chair had trouble actually getting a ballot from the teller or whoever was passing them out, so there was a little bit of a funny moment just now as she tried to get that.
UPDATE (2:24 P.M. EST): They’re now calling the roll and depositing the ballots in the box.
UPDATE (2:49 P.M. EST): 4th round of voting:
Mike Duncan: (-44/-52)
Michael Steele: 60 votes (+9/+14)
Katon Dawson: 62 votes (+28/+34)
Saul Anuzis: 31 votes (+7/+9)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (0/-5)
Wow – I really didn’t expect Dawson to get that many votes. Steele may NOT have this in the bag yet. I do expect Blackwell to drop soon, and that may push Steele over the top, but if Blackwell stays in, Dawson may get there first.
UPDATE (2:59 P.M. EST): Blackwell isn’t expected to stay in past the 5th round of balloting, so if he drops 1 round early, and all of his 15 go to Steele, Steele would have it. If stays in for a while, I think Dawson may get it.
UPDATE (3:01 P.M. EST): Blackwell is about to speak.
UPDATE (3:03 P.M. EST): They found Ken Blackwell (he had been missing), and he IS in fact about to address the committee.
UPDATE (3:09 P.M. EST): “I cannot change … this electorate, nor would I want to.” He’s talking about us being the party of Lincoln. He’s talking about choosing the “path of conviction over the path of convenience.” “I withdraw my name … and put my support fully behind … I believe that the next chairman must inspire hope … create opportunity and must have the leadership opportunity … to first pull us together and then pull Americans together. … Great nations don’t come from governments … but from people. … I put my full support behind Michael Steele.”
OH YEAH BABY! CALLED IT!
Alright, the voting has now begun.
UPDATE (3:10 P.M. EST): The roll is now being called.
UPDATE (3:26 P.M. EST): Steele is on the phone.
UPDATE (3:35 P.M. EST): 5th round:
Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 79 votes (+19/+33)
Katon Dawson: 69 votes (+7/+41)
Saul Anuzis: 20 votes (-11/-2) Ken Blackwell:(-15/-20)
Saul is withdrawing, but no endorsement! This is gonna get interesting.
UPDATE (3:40 P.M. EST): Alright, time for some analysis. I honestly think this race is over. Steele only needs 6 more votes, and Saul had 20 available, so as long as Steele gets 30% of Saul’s supporters, he wins. I don’t see Dawson winning this one, although he has come a LOT farther than anybody thought, and he has been doing really good in gathering support from dropped candidates. He’s received no endorsements so far, but he’s gained the most from the first ballot to the current ballot (the second number in the parentheses). They should be coming back in 3 minutes, so hopefully we’ll have a chair by around 4:00.
UPDATE (3:45 P.M. EST): The Proxy Committee report has been approved and the seargent at arms is distributing the ballots. This should be the last ballot.
UPDATE (3:47 P.M. EST): You have to figure that Keith Butler (MI) will go for Steele, so that means that Steele would only need 5 additional delegates after Butler.
UPDATE (3:49 P.M. EST): The roll is now being called. We’re almost half-way through the roll call.
UPDATE (3:58 P.M. EST): The ballots are now being counted.
UPDATE (4:05 P.M. EST): Here are the results of the 6th and final balloting round:
Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 91 votes (+12/+45)
Katon Dawson: 77 votes (+8/+49) Saul Anuzis: (-20/-22) Ken Blackwell:(-/-20)
Congratulations to Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee!
UPDATE (4:11 P.M. EST): Steele is now speaking. He’s saying “it’s time for something different, and we’re going to bring it to them. … We’re going to bring this party … to every community. … To those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over. … I want to thank all of you especially. … I never thought this day would come. … I would like to especially thank my friends in the territories … who will help grow this party in a way that we have never seen before. … To my friends in the Northeast: get ready baby, it’s time to turn it on. … We’re gonna win again in the Northeast. We’re gonna continue to win in the South. We’re gonna win in a new storm in the Midwest. We’re gonna get to the West and lock it down there too. … I cannot do this by myself. … This is about empowering you. … We stand proud, as the conservative party of he United States, and we will work hard to make sure those values … that made us the party of Lincoln … are part of thoe issues. … So, my first official act, as your new chairman, is to end this speech right now, because we have a few more races to do. … God bless you. God bless our party. Thank you.”
UPDATE (12:46 A.M. EST 2-1/09): Here’s a video of Michael Steele’s acceptance speech. It’s a great speech, so take the time to watch it:
And with that, I’m done with my coverage – I have to go drop off a lab report for my physics class!
Today, I saw a TV interview that has confirmed what I’ve been saying for years (see the long paragraph in the middle). The UAW has driven the auto industry down into a disastrous spiral. Watch theses videos. The first is an ad put out by the Employee Freedom Action Committee (EFAC), and the second is an interview with EFAC representative Rick Berman (done by Neil Cavuto):
Alright, so those videos discuss the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a bill that would get rid of the secret ballot for unions (when workers vote to either unionize or not unionize) and would force workers to pay union dues even if they don’t want to.
There are Democrats in Congress who are supporting this, but the interesting thing is, they recently voted to keep Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in their caucus, by … you guessed it … a secret ballot.
Now, in that second video, you saw the insanely huge contract that the UAW has forced the Big 3 auto companies into. Yes, I said forced. As I’ve explained before, the UAW has bullied the Big 3 into signing those insane contracts. Because if the auto companies don’t sign, the union will go on strike, and the company will suffer and lose money. Unfortunately, the companies give in, because their executives don’t want their companies to fail. If I were the auto executives, I’d say, “Go on strike,” and when the company didn’t have enough money to stay open, I’d fire those union workers. Then see if the UAW is so stubborn. I guarantee they wouldn’t be.
There was a time and place for unions, but, for the most part, that time and place is all gone now.
Stand up AGAINST the EFCA and stand WITH the EFAC. Fight the union bosses. Fight for workers RIGHTS (the RIGHT to a secret ballot, which Americans hold so dear).
In Rensselaer county New York, some funny typing went on when the absentee ballot was made up. In row 1A for the Presidential election, “Barack Osama” is listed instead of “Barack Obama.”
Once the error was pointed out, new ballots were sent out to the approximately 300 people who received the bad ballots, and the rest of the old ballots were shredded. Voters can send in either ballot and the vote will be counted. The error appeared on only 1 of 13 ballot version for that county.
The two commissioners in charge of the elections released statements:
Edward McDonough, the Democratic commissioner said, “No question this is an honest mistake innocently done. We catch almost everything.” He later told the Associated Press, “It’s human error, it’s very unfortunate, it’s an embarrassment to our office, obviously. We wish we could turn back the clock, but we can’t.”
Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee said, “This was a typo. We have three different staff members who proof these things and somehow the typo got by us.”
One voter, who was interviewed by the Times Union (who broke the story of the typo), said, “It’s a little suspicious and at least grossly incompetent. If I crossed out the name and wrote in the right spelling my ballot would be invalid.” I’m not sure how valid that claim is, but it’s very well possible.
And I was thinking, how on earth did this happen? I could understand “Ovama” or even “Ogama” or even “Onama,” but “Osama” is typed completely differently. Part of me wonders if this wasn’t a bitter Clinton supporter with a Republican who said, “I’ll look away.”
Either way, it’s somewhat funny, but somewhat sad that a team of public officials could be that incompetent. I doubt anything serious will come out of this, but if anything else does develop, I’ll keep you updated.
EDIT: Now that WordPress has a little option to put polls in your blog posts, I’ve added a poll at the bottom of my post (the end of the blog post, not the end of the comments).
Alright, as promised, I will now be discussing Michigan’s Proposal 2, “Proposal 2008-02: A proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.” My analysis of Proposal 1, which legalizes medicinal marijuana is available here.
Ballot Wording as approved by the Board of State Canvassers
August 21, 2008
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos —
— are created for fertility treatment purposes;
— are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;
— would be discarded unless used for research;
— were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.
Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research, future therapies and cures.
Should this proposal be adopted?
So that’s what will actually be on the ballot. Here is a copy of the actual amendments that will be made to the Michigan Constitution if this passes. I’ll have my analysis throughout the amendments as well as a summary at the end:
INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:
Article I, Section 27.
(1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.
(2) To ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the most promising forms of medical research in this state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:
(a) No stem cells may be taken from a human embryo more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which an embryo is frozen does not count against this fourteen day limit.
(b) The human embryos were created for the purpose of fertility treatment and, with voluntary and informed consent, documented in writing, the person seeking fertility treatment chose to donate the embryos for research; and
i. the embryos were in excess of the clinical need of the person seeking the fertility treatment and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research; or
ii. the embryos were not suitable for implantation and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research.
This is where I need to bring up a key flaw in the whole debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). You have the camp who opposes ESCR because they believe that life begins at conception, and I fall into this camp. Then you have the camp who argues, “But they’re going to be discarded anyway.” And this is where the ESCR opposition has somewhat failed. Many don’t address this issue and simply say, “Well, we shouldn’t be doing research on them.” That’s not the point. The point needs to be that instead of making EXTRA embryos for in vitro fertilization, we should be making embryos AS NEEDED. Sure, it’s costlier, but it doesn’t create embryos that will be destroyed. Now, if you don’t believe that life begins at conception, then this point is irrelevant. I just wanted to point out that the issue for pro-lifers should NOT be that ESCR is the problem, but that the creation of EXTRA embryos is the main problem. Once we stop this, ESCR will become irrelevant.
(c) No person may, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell human embryos for stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures.
(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:
i. prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or
ii. create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.
(3) Any provision of this section held unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.
I understand that this is a common practice in proposals, but with this being such a small proposal, I think that if a section of this proposal is held unconstitutional, ESPECIALLY in section (2)(b), the whole proposal will become extremely weaker than initially intended.
Overall, I don’t like the proposal. I don’t think we should be making ANY extra embryos, and justifying it by saying, “Well why let those embryos go to waste” will inhibit us from ending the bad practice of making excess embryos.
Plus, adult and umbilical stem cells have proven to be way more helpful than ESCs, which have given us NOTHING so far.
So, I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now–I will be voting “No” for this come November. As of now, my prediction is that this proposal will fail with voters voting somewhere around 43-57%.
Ballot Wording as approved by the Board of State Canvassers
August 21, 2008
A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO PERMIT THE USE AND CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA FOR SPECIFIED MEDICAL CONDITIONS
The proposed law would:
Permit physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health.
Permit registered individuals to grow limited amounts of marijuana for qualifying patients in an enclosed, locked facility.
Require Department of Community Health to establish an identification card system for patients qualified to use marijuana and individuals qualified to grow marijuana.
Permit registered and unregistered patients and primary caregivers to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.
Should this proposal be adopted?
Alright, so that’s what’s going to actually be on the ballot. Now, here’s a copy of the amendments that this proposal will make to the Michigan Constitution, and I’ll have my analysis throughout the amendments as well as below:
INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:
An initiation of Legislation to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana; to provide protections for the medical use of marihuana; to provide for a system of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers; to impose a fee for registry application and renewal; to provide for the promulgation of rules; to provide for the administration of this act; to provide for enforcement of this act; to provide for affirmative defenses; and to provide for penalties for violations of this act.
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
1. Short Title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
Sec. 2. The people of the State of Michigan find and declare that:
(a) Modern medical research, including as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in a March 1999 report, has discovered beneficial uses for marihuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions.
(b) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out of every 100 marihuana arrests in the United States are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marihuana.
(c) Although federal law currently prohibits any use of marihuana except under very limited circumstances, states are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. The laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington do not penalize the medical use and cultivation of marihuana. Michigan joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens.
But the federal government COULD still come in and arrest a Michigander, so it’s not like this law would give immunity in those instances.
3. Definitions. Sec. 3. As used in this act:
(a) “Debilitating medical condition” means 1 or more of the following:
(1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, or the treatment of these conditions.
(2) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces 1 or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
(3) Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department, as provided for in section 5(a).
(b) “Department” means the state department of community health.
“Enclosed, locked facility” means a closet, room, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient.
(d) “Marihuana” means that term as defined in section 7106 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7106.
(e) “Medical use” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marihuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.
(f) “Physician” means an individual licensed as a physician under Part 170 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17001 to 333.17084, or an osteopathic physician under Part 175 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17501 to 333.17556.
(g) “Primary caregiver” means a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marihuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.
(h) “Qualifying patient” means a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.
(i) “Registry identification card” means a document issued by the department that identifies a person as a registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver.
(j) “Usable marihuana” means the dried leaves and flowers of the marihuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant.
(k) “Visiting qualifying patient” means a patient who is not a resident of this state or who has been a resident of this state for less than 30 days.
(l) “Written certification” means a document signed by a physician, stating the patient’s debilitating medical condition and stating that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.
That all sounds good to me.
4. Protections for the Medical Use of Marihuana.
Sec. 4. (a) A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, and, if the qualifying patient has not specified that a primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount.
(b) A primary caregiver who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department’s registration process with the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the primary caregiver possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed:
(1) 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana for each qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department’s registration process; and
(2) for each registered qualifying patient who has specified that the primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility; and
(3) any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots.
(c) A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.
It’s good that they put in a safeguard provision here.
(d) There shall be a presumption that a qualifying patient or primary caregiver is engaged in the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act if the qualifying patient or primary caregiver:
(1) is in possession of a registry identification card; and
(2) is in possession of an amount of marihuana that does not exceed the amount allowed under this act. The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that conduct related to marihuana was not for the purpose of alleviating the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition, in accordance with this act.
I doubt they’re going to enforce that, since that would be pretty hard to prove, and arresting somebody with a card would be a lawsuit waiting to happen, unless it’s REALLY clear that they weren’t doing it for medicinal purposes.
(e) A registered primary caregiver may receive compensation for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marihuana. Any such compensation shall not constitute the sale of controlled substances.
(f) A physician shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by the Michigan board of medicine, the Michigan board of osteopathic medicine and surgery, or any other business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for providing written certifications, in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and after the physician has completed a full assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history, or for otherwise stating that, in the physician’s professional opinion, a patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the serious or debilitating medical condition, provided that nothing shall prevent a professional licensing board from sanctioning a physician for failing to properly evaluate a patient’s medical condition or otherwise violating the standard of care for evaluating medical conditions.
(g) A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for providing a registered qualifying patient or a registered primary caregiver with marihuana paraphernalia for purposes of a qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana.
(h) Any marihuana, marihuana paraphernalia, or licit property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marihuana, as allowed under this act, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be seized or forfeited.
(i) A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, or for assisting a registered qualifying patient with using or administering marihuana.
Another good provision, but this provision could also easily be abused (you know a guy who uses medicinal marijuana, so you get high at his house while he’s using it legitimately. Although the law doesn’t say that you can’t be questioned or detained). Overall, it’s a good provision to have, to keep cops who don’t like this amendment from arresting people around medicinal marijuana users.
(j) A registry identification card, or its equivalent, that is issued under the laws of another state, district, territory, commonwealth, or insular possession of the United States that allows the medical use of marihuana by a visiting qualifying patient, or to allow a person to assist with a visiting qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.
(k) Any registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver who sells marihuana to someone who is not allowed to use marihuana for medical purposes under this act shall have his or her registry identification card revoked and is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both, in addition to any other penalties for the distribution of marihuana.
5. Department to Promulgate Rules.
Sec. 5. (a) Not later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, that govern the manner in which the department shall consider the addition of medical conditions or treatments to the list of debilitating medical conditions set forth in section 3(a) of this act. In promulgating rules, the department shall allow for petition by the public to include additional medical conditions and treatments. In considering such petitions, the department shall include public notice of, and an opportunity to comment in a public hearing upon, such petitions. The department shall, after hearing, approve or deny such petitions within 180 days of the submission of the petition. The approval or denial of such a petition shall be considered a final department action, subject to judicial review pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328. Jurisdiction and venue for judicial review are vested in the circuit court for the county of Ingham.
Sounds good to me.
(b) Not later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, that govern the manner in which it shall consider applications for and renewals of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers. The department’s rules shall establish application and renewal fees that generate revenues sufficient to offset all expenses of implementing and administering this act. The department may establish a sliding scale of application and renewal fees based upon a qualifying patient’s family
income. The department may accept gifts, grants, and other donations from private sources in order to reduce the application and renewal fees.
“This card has been brought to you by Marge’s Marijuana Garden.”
6. Administering the Department’s Rules.
Sec. 6. (a) The department shall issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients who submit the following, in accordance with the department’s rules:
(1) A written certification;
(2) Application or renewal fee;
(3) Name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient, except that if the applicant is homeless, no address is required;
(4) Name, address, and telephone number of the qualifying patient’s physician;
(5) Name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient’s primary caregiver, if any; and
(6) If the qualifying patient designates a primary caregiver, a designation as to whether the qualifying patient or primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to possess marihuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use.
(b) The department shall not issue a registry identification card to a qualifying patient who is under the age of 18 unless:
(1) The qualifying patient’s physician has explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marihuana to the qualifying patient and to his or her parent or legal guardian;
(2) The qualifying patient’s parent or legal guardian submits a written certification from 2 physicians; and
(3) The qualifying patient’s parent or legal guardian consents in writing to:
(A) Allow the qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana;
(B) Serve as the qualifying patient’s primary caregiver; and
(C) Control the acquisition of the marihuana, the dosage, and the frequency of the medical use of marihuana by the qualifying patient.
(c) The department shall verify the information contained in an application or renewal submitted pursuant to this section, and shall approve or deny an application or renewal within 15 days of receiving it. The department may deny an application or renewal only if the applicant did not provide the information required pursuant to this section, or if the department determines that the information
provided was falsified. Rejection of an application or renewal is considered a final department action, subject to judicial review. Jurisdiction and venue for judicial review are vested in the circuit court for the county of Ingham.
(d) The department shall issue a registry identification card to the primary caregiver, if any, who is named in a qualifying patient’s approved application; provided that each qualifying patient can have no more than 1 primary caregiver, and a primary caregiver may assist no more than 5 qualifying patients with their medical use of marihuana.
(e) The department shall issue registry identification cards within 5 days of approving an application or renewal, which shall expire 1 year after the date of issuance. Registry identification cards shall contain all of the following:
(1) Name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient.
(2) Name, address, and date of birth of the primary caregiver, if any, of the qualifying patient.
(3) The date of issuance and expiration date of the registry identification card.
(4) A random identification number.
(5) A photograph, if the department requires 1 by rule.
(6) A clear designation showing whether the primary caregiver or the qualifying patient will be allowed under state law to possess the marihuana plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use, which shall be determined based solely on the qualifying patient’s preference.
(f) If a registered qualifying patient’s certifying physician notifies the department in writing that the patient has ceased to suffer from a debilitating medical condition, the card shall become null and void upon notification by the department to the patient.
(g) Possession of, or application for, a registry identification card shall not constitute probable cause or reasonable suspicion, nor shall it be used to support the search of the person or property of the person possessing or applying for the registry identification card, or otherwise subject the person or property of the person to inspection by any local, county or state governmental agency.
(h) The following confidentiality rules shall apply:
(1) Applications and supporting information submitted by qualifying patients, including information regarding their primary caregivers and physicians, are confidential.
(2) The department shall maintain a confidential list of the persons to whom the department has issued registry identification cards. Individual names and other identifying information on the list is confidential and is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.
(3) The department shall verify to law enforcement personnel whether a registry identification card is valid, without disclosing more information than is reasonably necessary to verify the authenticity of the registry identification card.
(4) A person, including an employee or official of the department or another state agency or local unit of government, who discloses confidential information in violation of this act is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. Notwithstanding this provision, department employees may notify law enforcement about falsified or fraudulent information submitted to the department.
(i) The department shall submit to the legislature an annual report that does not disclose any identifying information about qualifying patients, primary caregivers, or physicians, but does contain, at a minimum, all of the following information:
(1) The number of applications filed for registry identification cards.
(2) The number of qualifying patients and primary caregivers approved in each county.
(3) The nature of the debilitating medical conditions of the qualifying patients.
(4) The number of registry identification cards revoked.
(5) The number of physicians providing written certifications for qualifying patients.
I have mixed views on this section. On the one hand, I see the registration cards as unnecessary – why can’t we just have a prescription type system for this? We don’t have cards for Vicodin. On the other hand, I realize that the use of marijuana is going to generally be a longer usage than other drugs. Also, this makes it an easy way for cops to tell if the person is legally using marijuana. Cops don’t go around checking prescriptions when they see somebody taking a pill, but it would happen with marijuana (even though using somebody else’s prescription is just as illegal as using marijuana is). I think that it’s unfortunately necessary, but I just want the cost for these cards to stay down, so that the state isn’t wasting money on these.
7. Scope of Act.
Sec. 7. (a) The medical use of marihuana is allowed under state law to the extent that it is carried out in accordance with the provisions of this act.
(b) This act shall not permit any person to do any of the following:
(1) Undertake any task under the influence of marihuana, when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.
(2) Possess marihuana, or otherwise engage in the medical use of marihuana:
(A) in a school bus;
(B) on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school; or
(C) in any correctional facility.
(3) Smoke marihuana:
(A) on any form of public transportation; or
(B) in any public place.
(4) Operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana.
(5) Use marihuana if that person does not have a serious or debilitating medical condition.
Another good set of provisions.
(c) Nothing in this act shall be construed to require:
(1) A government medical assistance program or commercial or non-profit health insurer to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marihuana.
So that means Blue Cross / Blue Shield won’t cover it, and I’m doubting any insurance companies will.
(2) An employer to accommodate the ingestion of marihuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marihuana.
(d) Fraudulent representation to a law enforcement official of any fact or circumstance relating to the medical use of marihuana to avoid arrest or prosecution shall be punishable by a fine of $500.00, which shall be in addition to any other penalties that may apply for making a false statement or for the use of marihuana other than use undertaken pursuant to this act.
(e) All other acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act do not apply to the medical use of marihuana as provided for by this act.
All those sound good.
8. Affirmative Defense and Dismissal for Medical Marihuana.
Sec. 8. (a) Except as provided in section 7, a patient and a patient’s primary caregiver, if any, may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marihuana, and this defense shall be presumed valid where the evidence shows that:
(1) A physician has stated that, in the physician’s professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition;
(2) The patient and the patient’s primary caregiver, if any, were collectively in possession of a quantity of marihuana that was not more than was reasonably
necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition; and
(3) The patient and the patient’s primary caregiver, if any, were engaged in the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition.
(b) A person may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana in a motion to dismiss, and the charges shall be dismissed following an evidentiary hearing where the person shows the elements listed in subsection (a).
(c) If a patient or a patient’s primary caregiver demonstrates the patient’s medical purpose for using marihuana pursuant to this section, the patient and the patient’s primary caregiver shall not be subject to the following for the patient’s medical use of marihuana:
(1) disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau; or
(2) forfeiture of any interest in or right to property.
That all looks good.
9. Enforcement of this Act.
Sec. 9. (a) If the department fails to adopt rules to implement this act within 120 days of the effective date of this act, a qualifying patient may commence an action in the circuit court for the county of Ingham to compel the department to perform the actions mandated pursuant to the provisions of this act.
(b) If the department fails to issue a valid registry identification card in response to a valid application or renewal submitted pursuant to this act within 20 days of its submission, the registry identification card shall be deemed granted, and a copy of the registry identification application or renewal shall be deemed a valid registry identification card.
(c) If at any time after the 140 days following the effective date of this act the department is not accepting applications, including if it has not created rules allowing qualifying patients to submit applications, a notarized statement by a qualifying patient containing the information required in an application, pursuant to section 6(a)(3)-(6) together with a written certification, shall be deemed a valid registry identification card.
Sec. 10. Any section of this act being held invalid as to any person or circumstances shall not affect the application of any other section of this act that can be given full effect without the invalid section or application.
Alright, so now, my analysis:
I’m voting for this proposal. As I’ve stated before, I am continuing to debate with myself over the issue of marijuana as a whole, but I decided months ago that I was going to vote for this one.
I think the advocates for this proposal should be GLAD that the proposal to legalize all marijuana didn’t get enough signatures. If both would’ve gotten on the ballot, I think that the all-marijuana proposal would’ve failed and people would’ve just voted both down (come on, you think people are really going to look information up? They’ll just hear on TV: “Marijuana is bad,” not notice the difference between the two propositions, and both fail.
I don’t see why the government should make this an illegal drug, when there are drugs like Vicodin that have side effects that make you high as well.
The government hasn’t outlawed alcohol which causes much more damage than marijuana.
I don’t see marijuana as that dangerous of a drug.
Why should we limit the medicinal use of marijuana if it can help people? It’s not like we’re just handing it out to anybody, it’ll be closely regulated. I see little reason for why even people who oppose recreational use of marijuana should oppose this proposal.
Although I’ll be voting for this in November, I’m not a huge advocate of the proposal. If it doesn’t pass, I’ll move on. This just isn’t a huge issue to me. I’ll be happy if it passes, but if not, it won’t be a huge deal to me.
However, I don’t think that’ll be an issue. I think this proposal will pass, with voters voting along the lines of somewhere around 62%-38%.
Tomorrow I’ll be analyzing the stem cell research proposal, so come on back!
Well, since then, all but 2 of those initiatives failed to get on the ballot. Below is a copy of the Ballot Proposal Status, published by the Secretary of State:
August 26, 2008
STATE OF MICHIGAN
STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSAL STATUS
NOVEMBER 4, 2008 GENERAL ELECTION
STATEWIDE PROPOSALS QUALIFIED TO APPEAR ON NOVEMBER 4, 2008 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT
COALITION FOR COMPASSIONATE CARE: Initiative petition approved as to form June 6, 2007; signatures filed November 20, 2007; petition determined sufficient March 3, 2008; proposal language certified to State Legislature March 3, 2008; 40-day consideration period reserved for State Legislature elapsed April 12, 2008.
Purpose: Legislative initiative to allow under state law the medical use of marihuana.
Contact: Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, P.O. Box 20489, Ferndale, Michigan 48220. Dianne Byrum (517) 333-1606.
STEM CELL RESEARCH: Initiative petition approved as to form February 4, 2008; signatures filed July 7, 2008; petition determined sufficient August 21, 2008.
Purpose: Proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.
Contact: Stem Cell Research BQC, P.O. Box 20216, Lansing, Michigan 48901. Mark Burton (517) 974-4004.
Although I’m not going to get into details about each of those proposals now (I’m going to split them up and do one tomorrow and the other on Thursday), I will briefly summarize each.
The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care proposal would legalize medicinal marijuana, and establish an ID system for regulating who is and is not allowed to use it.
The Stem Cell Research proposal would expand the use of human embryos for research, as long as the embryos were going to be discarded anyway, after being leftovers from a fertility clinic. It would also ban people from selling or purchasing embryos for research.
Now, how will I vote on these proposals?
Medicinal marijuana – Yes.
Stem cell research – No.
My predictions on the passage of the bills?
Medicinal marijuana – passes (62%-38%)
Stem cell research – fails (43%-57%)
Again, tomorrow I’ll have an in-depth analysis of the medicinal marijuana proposal, complete with ballot language and the actual changes to the law that will happen if it passes.
Well, this is a decision that wasn’t exactly easy for me to make, but now that I’ve made it, I’m confident that I made the right decision. I have decided that I will vote for the 0.1 mill to help fund the Detroit Zoo (a copy of the proposals can be found below). The zoo is located in Oakland County. The mill would be imposed for 10 years, from 2008 through 2017. If it passes, it is expected to raise a total of $14,968,031.11 if it passes in all 3 counties, as it is expected to. It would cost a taxpayer with a $200,000 home (market value) about $10. And that’s the main reason I voted for it: it’s a low tax, but it’ll help the zoo, which is loved by many in the area, and it’s in financial trouble. If, down the road, it recovers, they may not need the money.
Zogby International did a poll for the zoo officials, and the results were that it would pass in all 3 counties, with 71% supporting int in Wayne County, 70% in Oakland County, and 65% in Macomb County. The sample was 300 likely voters in Wayne, 303 in Oakland, and 302 in Macomb, with a margin of error of +/- 5.8%.
WAYNE COUNTY ZOOLOGICAL AUTHORITY
The Wayne County Zoological Authority was established pursuant to Public Act 49 of 2008, and formed to allow for continuing zoological services for the students, residents and visitors of the County of Wayne. The law allows the Authority to seek authorization from the electors to levy a tax of not more than 0.1 mill (10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) on real property and personal property to provide revenue for this purpose. Accordingly, to continue providing zoological services to benefit the residents of the County, shall a 0.1 mill on all taxable property located within the County of Wayne be imposed for a period of ten (10) years, being years 2008 through 2017. It is estimated that if approved and levied, this new millage will generate approximately $5,299,640.48 in 2008.
OAKLAND COUNTY ZOOLOGICAL AUTHORITY
The Oakland County Zoological Authority was established pursuant to Public Act 49 of 2008, and formed to allow for continuing zoological services for the students, residents and visitors of Oakland County. The law allows the Authority to seek authorization from the electors to levy a tax of not more than 0.1 mill (10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) on real and personal property to provide revenue for this purpose. Accordingly, to continue providing zoological services to benefit the residents of the County, shall a 0.1 mill on all of the taxable property located within the County be imposed for a period of ten (10) years, being years 2008 through 2017. It is estimated that if approved and levied, this new millage will generate approximately $6,474,597.63 in 2008.
MACOMB COUNTY ZOOLOGICAL AUTHORITY MILLAGE
The Macomb County Zoological Authority was established pursuant to Public Act 49 of 2008 and formed to allow for continuing zoological services for the students, residents and visitors of Macomb County. The law allows the Authority to seek authorization from the electors to levy a tax of not more than 0.1 mill (10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) on real and personal property to provide revenue to an accredited zoological institution for this purpose. Accordingly, to continue providing zoological services to benefit the residents of the County, shall a 0.1 mill on all of the taxable property located within the County be imposed for a period of ten (10) years, being years 2008 through 2017? It is estimated that if approved and levied, this new millage would generate approximately $3,193,793 in 2008.
I’m usually not one for taxes, but I think that it’s worth it here. I’d encourage everybody in the Tri-Counties area to vote for this proposal in the August 5th Primary.
Alright, so tonight I saw Swing Vote. I liked it. Although it had a LOT of swearing (which added some humor at times, but was a little over the top at others), I’d give it a 9 out of 10.
First, we’ll look at how the election could’ve happened (spoiler alert – I eventually get into details, and a few things about the ending). This is not a map they showed in the movie, I made it myself – it’s a believable hypothetical that adds up to the numbers they give in the movie:
The movie shows a hypothetical race where the Republican, President Andrew “Andy” Boone (Kelsey Grammer – a real Republican), has received 267 Electoral Votes, and the Democrat, Donald Greenleaf (Dennis Hopper), has received 266 Electoral Votes. New Mexico (5 EVs) is tied, and Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner) has to cast the tie vote (perfect electronic ballots, and his machine was unplugged. But actually, his daughter tried to vote for him, so he never should’ve voted in the first place, and NM’s EVs would’ve been split with 2.5 going to each, and Boone would’ve won). Here’s a possible map:
Boone in red, Greenleaf in blue. New Mexico is tied, and it’s never revealed how Bud votes.
Now, on to the characters:
Don Greenleaf (Dennis Hopper) is essentially McCain as a Democrat. Here’s some similarities:
His slogan is “Greenleaf Express,” similar to the “Straight Talk Express.”
In the beginning part, he says something that kinda makes him sound like a senile old man (you have to admit, McCain doesn’t always sound with it).
His mannerisms, holding his arms up sometimes when he speaks, and the way he talks, mimics McCain somewhat.
He switches from being pro-illegal immigrant to anti-illegal immigrant (and does a HILARIOUS campaign ad against the Republican, showing a bunch of immigrants running across a field).
He switches from being pro-choice to pro-life (ok, McCain’s been MOSTLY pro-life, but it still applies).
Martin Fox, Boone’s campaign manager (Stanley Tucci), is Karl Rove. Here are some similarities:
At the beginning, he’s talking about strategies involving getting religious voters out to vote.
He’s shown as somewhat of a do-what-we-must-to-win kind of guy.
He’s won all 7 elections he’s worked on.
He kinda resembles him physically, with the bald head.
President Andrew Boone (Kelsey Grammer) doesn’t resemble anybody in particular, but toward the beginning of the movie, he talks about whoever controls the Nuclear Football as being the most important issue, and talks about the dangers of North Korea. It portrays him as being a stereotypical Republican War Hawk. It’s probably the most stereotypical moment in the film.
Both Fox and Art Crumb (Nathan Lane), Greenleaf’s campaign manager, are shown as trying to manipulate Bud Johnson, and having their candidates switch their stances on issues just to get his vote. It differs from the movie where the politicians are the evil liars, and makes the campaign managers the “bad guys.” Although both candidates flip-flop on various issues to appeal to Bud, they ultimately turn good and realize what they were doing was wrong, ticking off their campaign managers.
One other stereotype was John Sweeney (George Lopez), the local FOX news reporter, is shown as just wanting to get massive media attention, and FOX is mocked a couple of other times throughout the movie.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It was fair and balance, and made fun of both sides, and shows them ultimately realizing their wrongs.
The movie never shows how Bud Johnson votes, but that could be a bonus part of the DVD.
So, now that I’ve ruined the plot for you, go out and see it!
Yesterday, the Michigan Supreme Court decided a case dealing with whether or not public employers are allowed to provide health care benefits to partners of homosexuals. The Court reached that decision in a 5-2 vote in the case of National Pride At Work v. Governor of Michigan.
Here’s an excerpt from the opinion, written by Justice Stephen Markman:
We granted leave to appeal to consider whether the marriage amendment, Const 1963, art 1, § 25, which states that “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,” prohibits public employers from providing health-insurance benefits to their employees’ qualified same-sex domestic partners. Because we agree with the Court of Appeals that providing such benefits does violate the marriage amendment, we affirm its judgment.
The trial court held that providing health-insurance benefits to domestic partners does not violate the marriage amendment because public employers are not recognizing domestic partnerships as unions similar to marriage, given the significant distinctions between the legal effects accorded to these two unions.
However, given that the marriage amendment prohibits the recognition of unions similar to marriage “for any purpose,” the pertinent question is not whether these unions give rise to all of the same legal effects; rather, it is whether these unions are being recognized as unions similar to marriage “for any purpose.”
Recognizing this and concluding that these unions are indeed being recognized as similar unions “for any purpose,” the Court of Appeals reversed. We affirm its judgment. That is, we conclude that the marriage amendment, Const 1963, art 1, § 25, which states that “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,” prohibits public employers from providing health-insurance benefits to their employees’ qualified same-sex domestic partners.
Stephen J. Markman
Clifford W. Taylor
Elizabeth A. Weaver
Maura D. Corrigan
Robert P. Young, Jr.
Justice Marilyn J. Kelly wrote the following in her dissent:
The issue we decide is whether the so-called “marriage amendment” of the Michigan Constitution prevents public employers from voluntarily providing health benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners. The majority has determined that it does. I disagree.
First, the language of the amendment itself prohibits nothing more than the recognition of same-sex marriages or similar unions. It is a perversion of the amendment’s language to conclude that, by voluntarily offering the benefits at issue, a public employer recognizes a union similar to marriage. Second, the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the amendment strongly suggest that Michigan voters did not intend to prohibit public employers from offering healthcare benefits to their employees’ same-sex partners. The majority decision does not represent “the law which the people have made, [but rather] some other law which the words of the constitution may possibly be made to express.”
Accordingly, I dissent.
The majority decides that the “marriage amendment” prevents public employers from voluntarily entering into contractual agreements to provide health benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners. Its decision is contrary to the people’s intent as demonstrated by the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the amendment and as expressed in the amendment’s language. For
those reasons, I must dissent.
Furthermore, by proceeding as it does, the majority condones and even encourages the use of misleading tactics in ballot campaigns by ignoring the extrinsic evidence available to it. CPM petitioned to place the “marriage amendment” on the ballot, telling the public that the amendment would not prohibit public employers from offering health benefits to their employees’ samesex domestic partners. Yet CPM argued to this Court that the “plain language of Michigan’s Marriage Amendment” prohibits public employers from granting the benefits at issue. Either CPM misrepresented the meaning of the amendment to the State Board of Canvassers and to the people before the election or it misrepresents the meaning to us now. Whichever is true, this Court should not allow CPM to succeed using such antics. The result of the majority’s disregard of CPM’s preelection statements is that, in the future, organizations may be encouraged to use lies and deception to win over voters or the Court. This should be a discomforting thought for us all.
To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for 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.
Many people who disagree with the ruling cite sources from the Michigan Christian Citizens Alliance’s committee, Citizens for the Protection of Marriage (CPM), when they said that the amendment was simply about marriage. One source was a CPM brochure:
Proposal 2 is Only about Marriage
Marriage is a union between a husband and wife. Proposal 2 will keep it that way. This is not about rights or benefits or how people choose to live their life. This has to do with family, children and the way people are. It merely settles the question once and for all what marriage is—for families today and future generations.
Well, honestly, brochures aren’t legal documents. That was a brochure to get more people to vote for the amendment. It may have been unethical, but it wasn’t illegal, and the Supreme Court’s job is not to interpret a brochure, but the Constitution, and the constitution clearly states, 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” (emphasis mine), and determining health care benefits is one of those purposes. I agree with the Court’s ruling.
I just don’t think that the government should be rewarding people for sinning. I don’t support gay marriage or civil unions as they’ve been proposed so far. What I WOULD support is the government to remove itself from marriages and give civil unions to any 2 people who wanted it (brother and sister, mother and daughter, husband and wife, a man and his neighbor, etc). That would make it so that those 2 people could have whatever benefits they want, and it removes “love” completely from the picture and makes it purely objective. But that will never happen. Why? Because gays want their time to shine, and if they are given rights with a bunch of other people, it won’t be something new and exclusive to them.
So, again, I fully support the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in this case. It doesn’t matter what the “intentions” of the amendment were, wording is wording, and it seems pretty clear to me what that wording means.
(I will now list the other plaintiffs in this case: Becky Allen, Dorthea Agnostopoulos, Adnan Ayoub, Meghan Bellanger, Judith Block, Mary M. Brisbois, Wade Carlson, Courtney D. Chapin, Michael Chapman, Michelle Corwin, Lori Curry, Joseph Darby, Scott Dennis, Jim Etzkorn, Jill Fuller, Susan Halsey-Ceragh, Peter Hammer, Debra Harrah, Ty Hiither, Jolinda Jach, Terry Korreck, Craig Kukuk, Gary Lindsay, Kevin McMann, A.T. Miller, Kitty O’Neil, Dennis Patrick, Tom Patrick, Gregg Pizzi, Kathleen Poelker, Jerome Post, Barbara Ramber, Paul Renwick, Dahlia Schwartz, Alexandra Stern, Gwen Stokes, Ken Cyberski, Joanne Beemon, Carol Borgeson, Michael Falk, and Matt Scott. “Plaintiff National Pride at Work, Inc., is a nonprofit organization of the American Federation of Labor–Council of Industrial Organizations. The remaining plaintiffs are employees of the city of Kalamazoo, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, the Clinton/Eaton/Ingham County Community Mental Health Board, or the state of Michigan and those employees’ same-sex partners. Because the benefit plans of Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, and the Eaton/Clinton/Ingham Community Mental Health Board are not part of the record, they are not discussed. Likewise, this opinion does not address whether private employers can provide health-insurance benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners.”)