Former Republican state representative Chris Ward has written a blog calling on his former GOP colleagues in the Legislature to apologize for their support in 2004 of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages.
Ward recalls that the push for the ballot proposal – a state constitutional amendment – was motivated by pure politics, not deeply held beliefs.
The Republicans needed a good issue to run on in ’04 and the pollsters and campaign strategists convinced them that gay marriage would bring out the Catholic vote in droves, and those Catholics would gratefully vote for Republicans up and down the ballot.
Here’s a portion of what Ward wrote for Republicus, a blog site that caters to GOP loyalists:
“Looking back now, one of the things that bothers me the most about the whole episode was how dehumanizing it was. It was just politics. But it wasn't politics ... these were people. We singled out a whole group of people, most of whom just wanted to be left alone, to forcefully discriminate against them for short-term political benefit.
|Ward was featured in a November 2008 story by domemagazine.com|
“All around us were our friends, COLLEAGUES, family members, highly valued staff members and people we care about who this clearly was going to hurt. Nobody seemed to think a thing of it. Like most people, including my constituents, I wasn't comfortable with same-sex marriage at that point but I didn't even bother to throw out a ‘hey we shouldn't be doing this?’ or ‘look what we are doing to the people we care about.’
"The vote (in the Legislature) failed. The supporters had to go spend some money to gather the signatures. Of course, those signatures were used as a database for later campaigns. A few of my Republican colleagues, Lorence Wenke and Leon Drolet, paid enormously for their courage in voting no.
“… My own particular purgatory is to be forever doomed to be on the wrong side of history. Ever since I can remember I have voraciously read history. Churchill in the wilderness years with his scrappy friends trying to rouse support to fight Hitler before the war. Lincoln, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner and so many more who fought slavery, even before it was popular. The founders meeting in secret and drawing up the plans for our country, while facing seemingly insurmountable odds. Reagan and Barry Goldwater always looking for the principled stand for the long term over the expedient.
“You always picture yourself cast in a role with them. Not on the other side. In my small window of making an impact, I failed to put the things I learned from reading those books to use on an important issue.”