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Michigan Senate Candidate Lorence Wenke Leaves GOP Over Party's Anti-Gay Politics

This week, former Michigan State Representative Lorence Wenke disaffiliated from the Republican Party over its “out-of-control spending” and “discrimination” against gays and lesbians. In November, he will run for state senate as a Libertarian:

Man_man”In a statement dated April 25, the long-time Southwest Michigan Republican cited the party's "discrimination" against gay citizens and what he characterized as "taxpayer abuse," which he said has created "an elite class" of government employees, as the reasons behind his decision.

"I support the constitutional right of our gay family members to enjoy the same rights as our heterosexual family members," Wenke wrote, citing his record as one of just two Republican legislators to vote against the Marriage Protection Amendment to the Michigan Constitution in 2004.

"I was the only legislator to call it what it is — discrimination against our gay brothers and sisters," he wrote. "At that time, three local Republican legislators with gay brothers never said a word in support of gay rights. I challenge them with this question: 'If you will not stand up for your own family members, who will you stand up for?' “…

Wenke called out Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov.Brian Calley for refusing to take a position for or against gay rights. "I can only assume it is because they fear the political consequences," he wrote.

Despite his personally difficult decision, Wenke said that he hopes to maintain the relationships he made as a Republican.

As a gubernatorial candidate four years ago Governor Snyder opposed marriage equality. When asked for his opinion now after a federal decision declared Michigan’s marriage ban unconstitutional, Snyder gave no comment, adding that social issues are a distraction.

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  1. I'm from Michigan and I have been slowly disparaging of my home state over their vehemently sour attitude towards gays (although, thankfully, my home city of Kalamazoo has been ahead of the State on that issue); so good on Lorence Wenke, showing more what the State of Michigan used to be.

    Posted by: woodroad34 | May 2, 2014 7:48:22 PM

  2. While his rationale is admirable, I'm not sure that Libertarianism is all that much better than Republicanism.

    Posted by: Jerry | May 2, 2014 8:39:22 PM

  3. "If you will not stand up for your own family members, who will you stand up for?"


    Although I agree with Jerry... Libertarianism would put us at the whims of the straight majority, and when we become uncool again, it will be back into the closets for us.

    Posted by: Randy | May 2, 2014 9:50:43 PM

  4. All this "brothers and sisters" garbage. I'm an only child.

    Posted by: Arrow | May 2, 2014 11:34:56 PM

  5. I grew up in Kalamazoo and had to leave when I was 18 because I saw no hope for happiness there as a gay man. I will never regret my decision, but I am very happy to see this kind of support.

    Posted by: Luke Terpstra | May 3, 2014 11:33:22 AM

  6. Frankly, it's bizarre how totally insane Michigan's Republicans are. They tossed a woman representative off the floor of the House for using the word 'vagina' in context during the discussion of woman's health issues. They literally kicked her out! Then, when she came back, she said the scientifically accurate word again, and the booted her a second time. Nuts.

    Posted by: Tarc | May 4, 2014 2:39:29 AM

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