Daniels Proposes Marriage Policy for Troy

By Kate Opalewski

TROY - Mayor Janice Daniels is making headlines again. This time, she is considering putting restrictions on marriage and divorce in the city of Troy with a Community Marriage Policy. She continues to draw attention to herself while facing a possible recall in the Nov. election, which was added to the ballot in July after 8,877 signatures were collected and verified by the Oakland County Director of Elections.

A Troy Community Marriage event was held at the Zion Christian Church in July where Mayor Daniels hosted a meeting with 40 religious, political and civic leaders to discuss her goal of reducing the area's divorce rates and to raise marriage rates.

According to the policy website, local clergy sign a covenant agreeing not to marry any couple who has not had a specified, substantial amount of pre-marital counseling. They also agree to create strong, lasting and satisfying marriages through the use of trained marriage mentor couples.

"I believe that marriage strengthens communities; therefore my involvement in setting the stage for a community marriage initiative is in keeping with the stated goal of mayor as a promoter and defender of the community," said Mayor Daniels in a recent post on her Facebook page. "If we can divert tax dollars from addressing societal challenges to infrastructure improvements (roads, sidewalks, drains, etc.) we will provide a better environment for the private sector to grow businesses and for families to move to Troy."

The policy, established by Mike and Harriet McManus of Potomac, Maryland, is not designed for same-sex couples. "That's a different culture with different issues. I have no competence in that field. I plead ignorance," said McManus, President of the Marriage Savers group. While McManus was able to provide a plethora of statistics and information regarding heterosexual married couples, when asked whether or not same-sex couples would be recognized under this policy, he said "It would not affect them. This policy is meant to restore traditional marriage only."

"The implementation of a 'traditional marriage' policy in Troy would be a thinly veiled attempt to insult and marginalize same-sex couples and their families. Not only does it send a message to LGBT adults - you are not welcome here - it also tells sexual-minority youth that they cannot aspire to 'happily ever after' like their peers. And that message, of course, can have devastating effects," said Dr. John Corvino, chair of the Wayne State University Philosophy Department and co-author (with Maggie Gallagher) of the new book Debating Same-Sex Marriage.

While the policy has not been introduced to council members yet, they are aware of Mayor Daniels intentions. "I wouldn't support her desire to legislate or develop policies on this issue and I do not agree with her decision to use her position on the council to forward her personal ideologies," said Mayor Pro Tem Maureen McGinnis.

"Mayor Daniels is again mixing her personal ideology with the business of the city of Troy. The city has absolutely no business getting involved with personal issues of marriage. Further, in my opinion, the Mayor has no authorization to represent her views or views of other council members in the name of Troy on a project such as this," said Troy Councilman Jim Campbell. "Her justification that her policy will save money for the community and it can be used to improve the infrastructure of the city is totally unfounded. Based on her past performance I am sure the policy does not include ALL the people in Troy."

Mayor Daniels has been the center of controversy since December when she posted an anti-gay statement on her Facebook page in June prior to being elected into office in November. In response, the Troy High School Gay-Straight Alliance organized a protest urging Mayor Daniels to step down. Later, she told the GSA students that the homosexual lifestyle is "dangerous" and wrote a lengthy position paper personally attacking city employees and council members. She further upset citizens of Troy after voting against the Troy Transit Center.

"In the past I have had the pleasure of working with many of the kids at Troy High School through various venues. When all of the uproar started I was very proud and impressed with how many of the students from both Troy and Athens came forth to speak on the issues that had surfaced. I am still proud of them today," said Campbell.

'Homosexual Lifestyle'

More recently, Mayor Daniels was under fire for comparing the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle to the dangers of cigarette smoking on Talk Radio 1270 with host Charlie Langton. She faced further criticism for inviting co-author of Michigan's 2004 Anti-Marriage Amendment Gary Glenn to speak at a Troy City Council meeting in June. Glenn, a former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate on an anti-LGBT, Tea Party platform, and the president of the American Family Association's Michigan chapter, supports Mayor Daniels previous anti-LGBT remarks.

"Thank Mayor Daniels for telling the truth about the personal and public health hazards medically and scientifically associated with homosexual behavior," Glenn told the council members, "and for not retreating, retracting, or apologizing."

Many members of the Troy community questioned council meeting procedure following Glenn's appearance and whether or not the council was in support of his statements. "Public comment is open to the public and we cannot prevent people from speaking, even those people who come to our meetings but are not residents of the city. There are rules regarding the manner that you can present your comments in and these rules are restated at the beginning of every public comment session," said McGinnis. "This person (Glenn) got no special treatment and was definitely not given a platform that was any different than any of the other members of the audience that chose to exercise their right to speak for five minutes during the public comment session. The council may very well be taking another look at the rules that govern council meeting procedure and we may make changes in the future that will dictate a time for people to address issues that are on the agenda and a time for people to address items that are not on the agenda."

Just last week, Mayor Daniels posted yet another comment on her Facebook page justifying the behavior of Sterling Heights Councilman Paul Smith, who publicly announced his support for Mayor Daniels. A YouTube video http://youtu.be/oN1yPJLyr7c resurfaced last week showing Smith during a 2009 Tea Party rally in Troy holding signs depicting violent illustrations of the impaled head of President Barack Obama and then-Governor Jennifer Granholm with a noose around her neck.

"He is a man who is not afraid to voice his opinion and vote his conscience, so now because he created and carried a sign that was offensive to many he has been bullied and asked to resign from the city council. Thank God we live in America where the rights of the individual supersede the whim of the majority who happen to hold power at any given time in any given legislative body," said Mayor Daniels.

Members of the council do not share all of the opinions of Mayor Daniels. "Janice Daniels doesn't speak for or represent me. My position is very simple; I want to equally represent all of the citizens, businesses and visitors of Troy. All Council members are elected as non partisans and should act and vote accordingly. We should make our decisions based on what is best for Troy. In my opinion, Janice Daniels is a 'me' person and she believes everything revolves around her and her ideologies to the point of pushing them down everyone's throats. I believe she is a poor example for our city and doesn't represent the face of Troy. I am embarrassed for our city because of her past and present actions and because of that, I am supporting her recall," said Troy Councilman Dane Slater.

"I want to make one thing clear about the city council in Troy. The seven members elected to the council all have a single vote on any issues. This holds true for the mayor as well, she has but one vote. Secondly, there is no mechanism that the city council has to remove any mayor or appointee to city boards and commissions from their positions. In the case of illegal activity there are other remedies for removal. The city council cannot initiate a recall campaign against anyone. The only thing that can be done by city council is to censure an elected or appointed official. This can only be accomplished by a majority vote form the council. The point of this information is to demonstrate that regardless of the positions of the various council members on the issues revolving around Mayor Daniels, there is nothing that could be done by council to resolve the problem," said Campbell.

As a part of their efforts to engage and encourage the Troy community to help remove Mayor Daniels from office, the Recall Janice Daniels Group (www.recalljanicedaniels.org) is hosting a fundraiser on Aug. 19 at Joe Kool's on Big Beaver and John R. Road in Troy at 6 p.m.

"This woman is completely out of control and needs to be stopped. We are looking for help in raising funds to ensure our success. The cost is $25. We need to send a message that this type of behavior is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Linda Marie Kajma, a volunteer for the group.

"As for my position on the recall of Mayor Janice Daniels, I was not a supporter of Janice Daniels during her campaign and I am not a supporter of Mayor Daniels since her election. Public information will show my signature on the recall petitions as well," said Campbell. "I support the recall of Mayor Daniels as a voting resident of the city of Troy as well as an elected official. I believe we need to refocus our efforts on serving the people of Troy and eliminate all of the background distractions. The city of Troy is a great city for all people. It's time to assure that Troy remains The City of Tomorrow. Today."

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