Michigan gubernatorial candidates spar over marriage

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 11 2002 12:00 AM ET

Republican candidate for Michigan governor Dick Posthumus is accusing his Democratic opponent of reversing her position on whether to support marriage rights for gay men and lesbians. But apparently Posthumus doesn't understand the difference between civil unions and marriage.

Posthumus said Democrat Jennifer Granholm, speaking after the pair's first televised debate, said she doesn't support a law that would allow gay men and lesbians to marry. But in April, Posthumus said, Granholm told an interviewer for Between the Lines, Michigan's largest gay newspaper, "I am supportive of domestic partnerships and civil unions." Granholm, who has led Posthumus in recent polls, has been endorsed by several groups advocating gay rights. Posthumus opposes gay civil unions. Michigan is one of 36 states that have laws that prohibit recognizing marriages between two people of the same sex.

Granholm said she was truthful when she said she does not back gay marriage, because "marriage can only be between a man and a woman." But she does support civil unions and domestic partnerships, campaign spokesman Chris De Witt said Wednesday. Granholm criticized Posthumus for using the issue to try to drive a wedge into the Michigan electorate. "This attack is another 3-D strategy by the Posthumus campaign to distort, distract, and divide," she said.

Posthumus said he's simply trying to point out another issue on which Granholm "has said one thing to the special interests behind closed doors and another thing to the voters."