Paul Kittinger and his partner, Brian Vargo were married at Planterra this year. Planterra will host the Lisa Brown fundraiser Sept. 28. Photo credit: Marek Dziekonski

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown Fundraiser Honors Commitment to Marriage Equality

BY BTL STAFF

As the Oakland County Clerk, Lisa Brown is known for her commitment to working for all citizens in the community. That includes LGBT citizens.

Brown was a defendant in the federal lawsuit, DeBoer v. Snyder, in which April and Jayne DeBoer-Rowse challenged Michigan's denial of adoption and marriage rights to same-sex couples. Named as a defendant because her office is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, Brown supported the plaintiffs, testifying in March 2014, and expressed her eagerness to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the law allowed.

"It was my honor to be a part of history. Marriage equality is a great step forward but there is still much to be done. I will never stop fighting to preserve people's basic rights, making sure elections are conducted fairly, and protecting citizens and taxpayer dollars," Brown said.

She received 81 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary race in August. In November's general election, Brown will face former Oakland County clerk and long-time GOP politician Bill Bullard, Jr.

To say thank you and show support for Brown, an LGBT fundraiser will be held in her honor on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. at Planterra, 7315 Drake Rd. in West Bloomfield.

The event is hosted by several leaders in the LGBT community including Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz, Mark LaChey and Bryan Hoffman, Nancy Katz and Margo Dichtelmiller, Michelle Walters and Suzanne Wait, Tom Hitchman and Keith Hewitt, Amanda and Kay Shelton, Stephanie and Emma White, Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), and Southfield Mayor Ken Siver. Special guests, the DeBoer-Rowse couple, will also attend.

Oakland County Clerk, Lisa Brown, left, in March 22, 2014, signing the first marriage certificate issued in Oakland County that historic day to James Ryder and Frank Colasonti, Jr. BTL publishers Susan Horowitz and Jan Stevenson served as witnesses. BTL file photo: Andrew Potter

Shane Pliska, president of Planterra and son of founders, Larry and Carol Pliska, said he appreciates having this event at his LGBT-friendly wedding venue and botanical garden that welcomes a diverse group of people for non-denominational ceremonies or garden parties.

"Lisa Brown is a forward thinking individual. She agrees that gay marriage is good for Oakland County...that it's not only important for civil liberties, but it's good for business too. Lisa is business-friendly, as well as conscious of the social responsibilities that go with her job," he said.

The Pliska family imported the botanical garden building from Izegem, Belgium, where glass and iron greenhouse structures are crafted in the tradition of Baron Haussmann's Parisian arcades. This 23,000-square-foot feat of architecture design was sent in pieces to be reconstructed. Benelux is the horticulture capital of the world and the reconstruction was extremely precise, down to the millimeter. The building devotes 11,000-square-feet to a collection of unique botanicals and is open year-round to the public for retail sales.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kevin Kresch at 248-953-1050 or email lisa4countyclerk@gmail.com. For those who are unable to attend the event, but want to support Brown, visit her website or make checks payable to Lisa Brown for County Clerk and mail to P.O. Box 251552, West Bloomfield, MI 48325.


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