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Pro-life Republicans lose in New Jersey, Virginia

WASHINGTON (BP)–Pro-life Republicans lost elections for governor Nov. 6 in both New Jersey and Virginia, states where the GOP had held the post for eight years.

In New Jersey, Woodbridge Mayor James McGreevey defeated Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler handily. McGreevey had a lead of 56 to 42 percent with 98 percent of the precincts reporting, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, Northern Virginia businessman Mark Warner held off state Attorney General Mark Earley, 52 to 47 percent.

Schundler and Earley had built their political careers as conservatives opposed to abortion. Schundler especially had become a hero among conservatives for his pro-life, pro-school choice, anti-tax positions while serving as an urban mayor for nine years. The moderate Republican establishment in New Jersey failed to support Schundler in his campaign.

Both McGreevey and Warner support abortion rights.

In state and local elections, homosexual rights advocates made gains, while opponents of tobacco use also achieved a victory.

Voters in Miami Beach, Fla., approved a referendum to provide health benefits for the domestic partners of its city employees, but voters in Houston, Texas, passed a ban on such coverage for homosexual and unmarried heterosexual partners of municipal workers. The Miami Beach vote was 65 to 35 percent in favor of domestic-partner benefits, according to The Miami Herald. Houston voters approved the prohibition on domestic-partner coverage with a 52 percent majority, The Houston Chronicle reported.

Voters in three Michigan communities endorsed the right of city officials to adopt ordinances supporting homosexual rights.

In the Detroit suburb of Huntington Woods, voters approved with a 69 percent majority a human rights ordinance that includes a prohibition on discrimination based on “sexual orientation,” according to the Detroit News. “Sexual orientation” can encompass homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality.

The Huntington Woods city commission had adopted the measure in April, but opponents had hoped to defeat it at the ballot box, the News reported.

In Traverse City and Kalamazoo, meanwhile, voters defeated charter amendments that would have prevented city officials from passing such human rights ordinances, according to the News.

Those votes came after voters had rejected human rights ordinances in the Michigan cities of Royal Oak and Ferndale in the last 18 months, the News reported.

Homosexual rights supporters easily outspent opponents in the Nov. 6 campaigns, said Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, according to the News. Ypsilanti voters will vote in August on their 1997 human rights ordinance, and Glenn expects pro-family forces to come closer to matching their opponents’ spending.

“Obviously the overwhelming rejection of the so-called human rights ordinance in Royal Oak was a wakeup call to homosexual activists and their national allies, and they responded,” Glenn told the News. “Certainly I hope the results tonight similarly will be a wakeup call to pro-family organizations in Michigan and across the nation … ,” he said.

Voters in Washington easily approved an initiative that gives the state the highest cigarette tax in the country. Beginning Jan. 1, 60 cents in taxes will be added to each pack, pushing Washington’s cigarette tax to $1.425 per pack, according to the Seattle Times. Name brands such as Marlboro will cost more than $5 a pack, the newspaper reported.

The initiative also will increase the wholesale tax on all other tobacco products, including cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco, the Times reported. That is expected to increase retail prices about 30 percent, according to the newspaper.

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