Outside Money from Religious Right Forces Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative in Ypsilanti
- 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
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
"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
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
"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
Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality
Press Release: May 13
For Immediate Release
Contact Beth Bashert
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