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Outside Money from Religious Right Forces Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative in Ypsilanti

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    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE From the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality ... OUTSIDE INFLUENCES PUSH ANTI-GAY AGENDA ON RESIDENTS OF YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN: Money
    Message 1 of 1 , May 14, 2002
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      CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE

      From the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality
      -----------------------------

      OUTSIDE INFLUENCES PUSH ANTI-GAY AGENDA ON RESIDENTS OF YPSILANTI,
      MICHIGAN: Money from Religious Right Forces Anti-Gay Ballot
      Initiative

      Former Dominos Pizza CEO Tom Monaghan got an anti-gay initiative on
      the ballot this November in Ypsilanti, MI and he doesn't even live
      there. The entire cost of this initiative, paid for by Monaghan was
      $6589.69, according to campaign documents released last week.

      The organization Ypsilanti Citizens Voting Yes for Equal Rights Not
      Special Rights was funded entirely by Monaghan and one other person,
      neither of which resides in Ypsilanti, according to their campaign
      finance statements for 2001. Monaghan "contributed" $6589.69, and
      the other donation of only $19 was from a woman by the name of Judy
      Bloss, to open a post office box for the group.

      In addition to the contribution by non-Ypsilanti residents, local
      volunteers collected only 26 of the 1100+ signatures. According to
      documents released by The Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality, a local
      group supporting equal rights for all people, Tom Monaghan paid the
      entire cost to hire a professional petition circulator from
      California.

      "Ypsilanti residents were distressed first to learn that these people
      hired a professional business to collect signatures for this cruel
      measure, and we suspect people will be outraged to learn that this
      entire effort has been funded by people who don't even live in
      Ypsilanti," said Elizabeth Eddins, an Ypsilanti resident.

      And although the anti-gay initiative was funded entirely by people
      outside of Ypsilanti, financial statements from the Ypsilanti
      Campaign for Equality shows that this organization, supporting equal
      rights for all people in Ypsilanti, raised $5956 in 2001, from 114
      individuals.

      In 1998, Ypsilanti passed an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance
      that protects people based on a variety of characteristics, including
      religion, age, race and sexual orientation. This new charter
      amendment seeks to remove protections, but only for gay, lesbian and
      bisexual people.

      "This charter amendment is part of a well-funded effort around the
      state to legitimize discrimination against gay people," said Lisa
      Zuber, co-chair for the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality (YCFE).
      Documents released Wednesday show that Monaghan, in addition to
      bankrolling the Ypsilanti anti-gay initiative, has given thousands of
      dollars to similar efforts in at least one other city. His
      contributions, along with the anti-gay American Family Association,
      helped run anti-gay campaigns in three Michigan cities last year. "


      "These people were successful in putting this on the ballot for two
      reasons: 1) substantial funding and 2) deception," said Elizabeth
      Eddins. "They create intentionally confusing ballot language, mislead
      people into putting it on the ballot, then refuse to talk about what
      the charter amendment would do, which is legalize discrimination
      against gay people."

      "The Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality needs help battling these people
      who can write big checks," adds Zuber. "We can't raise this kind of
      money entirely inside Ypsilanti, but this campaign,- unlike theirs, -
      will be run by people who live in the town under attack."

      "It is clear that this election would not be taking place without the
      paid petitioners and Tom Monaghan footing the bill," Zuber states.
      "Discrimination against anyone is wrong, yet here they come
      essentially buying their agenda onto our ballot. That's shameful."

      Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality is a group of local citizens working
      to prevent any changes of the city charter that will allow
      discrimination.

      Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality
      Press Release: May 13
      For Immediate Release
      Contact Beth Bashert
      Phone 734-480-3988


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