Post submitted by Ianthe Metzger, Former Press Secretary, State & Local
Today, eight days before the crucial midterm elections, HRC is exposing the record of Vice President Mike Pence, who is scheduled to campaign with anti-equality candidates Bill Schuette, John James, Mike Bishop and Lena Epstein today in Oakland County and Grand Rapids.
“Despite the hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters who support equality, these candidates disturbingly continue to align themselves with the discriminatory Trump-Pence agenda and push dangerous policies that leave LGBTQ Michiganders behind and hurt Michigan families,” said HRC Michigan State Director Amritha Venkataraman.“Their positions are politically toxic and Michigan voters won’t stand for their attacks on our friends, family and neighbors. With Election Day just 8 days away, HRC is on the ground working harder than ever to elect Gretchen Whitmer, Debbie Stabenow, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens -- pro-equality champions who will fight for our values and be a check on the dangerous Trump-Pence agenda in Michigan and in Washington.”
As Schette, James, Bishop and Epstein align themselves with the anti-LGBTQ Trump-Pence administration, HRC is on the ground mobilizing our members and supporters and nearly 1.1 million Equality Voters in Michigan to re-elect Senator Debbie Stabenow, elect Gretchen Whitmer as Governor, and elect Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Haley Stevens to Congress (MI-11). HRC has prioritized investments and organizing in Michigan, and has staff and resources on the ground in the state as part of the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.
Bill Schuette has made virulent anti-LGBTQ activism a cornerstone of his political career. As Michigan Attorney General, Schuette filed suit to oppose protections for LGBTQ youth facing discrimination and bullying in schools, and supported a license to discriminate in mental health care. He also wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in a crusade to stop marriage equality, and recently chose to ignore consistent legal precedent in issuing a formal opinion denying that LGBTQ Michiganders are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under the state Civil Rights Act. HRC-endorsed Gretchen Whitmer is a stalwart champion for the LGBTQ community. As a state senator, she led the passage of an anti-bullying bill to protect Michigan’s LGBTQ youth, and fought to pass legislation that would provide benefits to same-sex partners of public employees in Michigan, prior to nationwide marriage equality. She also sponsored legislation to expand Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBTQ Michiganders.
In the U.S. Senate race, John James is eagerly accepting support from anti-LGBTQ extremist Mike Pence, and has previously refused to support laws protecting LGBTQ Michiganders from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. HRC has endorsed incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow. She supported marriage equality; the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act; and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would require school districts to adopt codes of conduct prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. Stabenow is also a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, crucial federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's civil rights laws.
Rep. Mike Bishop (R) who’s running for reelection in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, received a zero on HRC’s most recent congressional scorecard. Earlier this year he also voted in favor of an amendment that would have banned access to transition-related health care for military service members and their families. HRC has endorsed former CIA analyst Elissa Slotkin who is a strong supporter of LGBTQ equality. She supports the Equality Act and spoke out strongly against President Trump’s effort to ban qualified transgender service members from the military.
Lena Epstein has spent her time in public service closely tying herself to Donald Trump and Mike Pence, serving as co-chair of Trump’s Michigan campaign in 2016. HRC has endorsed Haley Stevens in her bid to represent the people of Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. Stevens has dedicated her career to improving the lives of Michigan’s working families and is a strong advocate for full equality. She supports marriage equality and has committed to passing the Equality Act when elected.
HRC has also endorsed Gretchen Driskell for Michigan’s 7th Congressional District. HRC’s comprehensive “The Real Mike Pence” campaign includes a report, microsite and series of videos that shine a spotlight on Pence’s decades-long crusade against LGBTQ equality, and inside-the-White House efforts leading the Trump-Pence administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people.
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