Voters in Detroit and three other Michigan cities--Grand Rapids, Flint, and Pontiac--have been targeted by phone calls trying to get them to oppose Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry by falsely implying that Kerry would make same-sex marriage legal, a spokesman for Kerry's Michigan campaign said Monday. Both Kerry and his running mate, U.S. senator John Edwards, oppose same-sex marriage, maintaining that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman. Kerry has said he supports civil unions, however.
In the phone calls a young woman tells those answering the phone, "When you vote this Tuesday, remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry. We need John Kerry in order to make gay marriage legal for our city. Gay marriage is a right we all want. It's a basic Democrat principle. It's time to move forward and be progressive. Without John Kerry, George Bush will stop gay marriage. That's why we need Kerry. So Tuesday, stand up for gay marriage by supporting John Kerry."
The phone calls began early Sunday afternoon, according to Rodell Mollineau, spokesman for Kerry's Michigan campaign. No number appears on the Caller ID of most recipients, he said. "We're shocked and pretty much appalled that Republicans would sink to this in the last 48 hours of the campaign," Mollineau said.
Michigan Republican Party executive director Greg McNeilly said recorded phone calls have been made by former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler and by President Bush to Michigan voters, but he didn't know anything about the calls being discussed by the Kerry campaign. "All of our calls have disclaimers on them," McNeilly said.
GOP officials have been getting reports of phone calls being made by a person who says he's representing the Bush campaign and then lets loose a string of swear words. Another phone call purportedly tells voters they've been drafted for military service because Bush needs them for the war in Iraq. "There are so many reports of phone calls going on right now that appear to be untoward," McNeilly said.