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Attorney General Mike Cox last week responded to revelations that one of his employees has a peculiar pastime: attacking openly gay University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong, along with other similar pro-life and anti-gay endeavors.
Andrew Shirvell, a graduate of U of M and lawyer in Cox’s appellate division, runs a blog called the “Chris Armstrong Watch,” in which Armstrong repeatedly is referred to as a “radical homosexual activist.”
Shirvell was also elected as a Republican precinct delegate for Charlotte. Mich., in the Aug. 3 primaries.
Between The Lines first reported on Shirvell in May, when he was seen disrupting a rally of which Armstrong was a part. The May 8 event was a counter-protest to the Westboro Baptist Church’s planned protest of the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s production of “The Laramie Project.” Westboro never showed, by Armstrong and over 100 local activists gathered outside the theater to show support for the play.
Shirvell was there as well, holding up a sign calling Armstrong a “racist liar” and heckling him throughout his speech to rally participants.
Shirvell has been seen on U of M’s Ann Arbor campus and at several events since the fall semester started, criticizing Armstrong. Campus newspaper the Michigan Daily reported on the conflict, which brought the issue to the attention of other media outlets, as well as Cox.
Shirvell, a licensed lawyer, first caught the attention of Michigan’s LGBT community when, according to the Michigan Messenger, he posted a piece on RightMichigan.com in 2008 bashing then-Triangle Foundation Director of Policy Sean Kosofsky. Shirvell later exchanged words with Joe Sylvester of the Log Cabin Republicans.
Then, on Feb. 7 of this year, a blog called “Cox Watch” purported to have e-mails between Shirvell and the Log Cabin Republicans where he was again slamming the group. “You are all sick freaks,” the Feb. 3 e-mail from Shirvell began. He went on to say of LCR that “the grassroots will never let you and your butt-buddies … hijack our pro-life, pro-family (Republican) party in pursuit of your perverted radical homosexual agenda.”
A second e-mail from Shirvell stated that, “What I do on my own time – during lunch or here at home – is my business.”
But apparently, Cox isn’t happy with how Shirvell spends his free time. “All state employees have a right to free speech outside working hours,” the AG said in a statement Sept. 15. “But Mr. Shirvell’s immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office is clear.”
A “Fire Andrew Shirvell” Facebook page has also recently popped up, with over 300 fans. Several have also pushed for Shirvell’s firing directly on Cox’s Facebook page.
The reprimanding, however, stopped there, with Cox’s office offering no comment as to whether or not Shirvell would be fired. He works as a civil service employee, a position that carries more job security than at-will employees.