GRAND RAPIDS PRESS — 'Pro-family' group aims to unseat Holland council members who support anti-discrimination vote
|â€œ’Given the serious threat these discriminatory gay rights ordinances have proven to pose to religious freedom in other communities, pro-family residents of Holland can’t afford the risk that a single council member might be replaced or pressured to change his vote and allow such a dangerous policy to become law,’ (Campaign for Michigan Families chairman Gary) Glenn said in a prepared statement. ‘To prevent that, our PAC will financially and otherwise assist candidates who file to run against the three council members this fall who tried to impose homosexual activists’ political agenda on city residents.’
Supporters of expanding the ordinance are planning to launch a petition drive to get the proposal on the ballot, but Glenn predicted any such proposal would fail, given that 64 percent of city voters voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment when it was on the 2004 ballot. ‘Holland voters are not going to endorse a homosexual agenda,’ he said.”
GRAND RAPIDS PRESS
‘Pro-family’ group aims to unseat Holland council
by Greg Chandler / The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND, Mich. â€“ A statewide “pro-family” political action committee wants to target three Holland City Council members who voted in favor of expanding the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Campaign for Michigan Families, which is affiliated with the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association, hopes to support candidates to run against Mayor Pro Tem Bob Vande Vusse and Councilmen Jay Peters and David Hoekstra in re-election bids this fall.
The three were part of the minority in the councilâ€™s 5-4 vote Wednesday night that rejected expanding the anti-discrimination ordinance.
But Peters, who has been on the council since 2007, is the only candidate of the three currently facing a re-election challenge. He faces an August primary race that includes former Councilman Victor Oroczo and Planning Commissioner Jerry Tonini.
Vande Vusse and Hoekstra did not have any opponents file to run against them by the May 10 filing deadline. Any potential opponents would have to run as write-in candidates.
â€œItâ€™s their right,â€ Vande Vusse said of the ouster effort. â€œI will stand on my record of 20 years (that Iâ€™ve been on the council). I trust the judgment of the people of Holland and the people of the Fourth Ward who have given me the opportunity to represent them for the past 20 years.â€
The lack of challengers isn’t deterring campaign chairman Gary Glenn, who urged “pro-family” candidates to consider running against the three incumbents, saying it would offer funding support.
“To prevent that, our PAC will financially and otherwise assist candidates who file to run against the three council members this fall who tried to impose homosexual activists’ political agenda on city residents.”
The proposed ordinance change had included a provision exempting religious organizations, their educational programs, and institutions that address housing, employment, education and other services. That didnâ€™t keep many opponents from stating their opposition on moral grounds. Glenn, however, says that provision was narrowly written and that the ordinance would prevent â€œindividual citizens from exercising their religious freedom.â€
Hoekstra has been a council member since 2003. Neither Peters nor Hoekstra could be reached for comment Saturday.
The fourth council member who voted in favor of expanding the ordinance, At-large Councilman Shawn Miller, is not running for election to the seat he was appointed to last month.
Supporters of expanding the ordinance are planning to launch a petition drive to get the proposal on the ballot, but Glenn predicted any such proposal would fail, given that 64 percent of city voters voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment when it was on the 2004 ballot.
“Holland voters are not going to endorse a homosexual agenda,â€ he said.
The announcement of the statewide campaign comes a day after a group supporting expanding the anti-discrimination ordinance launched a Facebook page calling for a boycott of the city in protest of the council vote. As of Saturday afternoon, that group had close to 240 members.