S/He Saids of the Month
“I feel like things sometimes have to swing in a certain way in order to swing back… I do believe that things will swing back and that even conservative people will think this has gone too far now.”
Ellen DeGeneres on the 2004 election
“What’s most outrageous is the perception that Bush supporters are more ‘moral’ and have better ‘values.’ That’s because corrupt or stupid preachers have successfully convinced media bubbleheads that morality and values are defined by crooked politicians who cynically denounce abortion and gay marriage.”
Metro Times columnist Jack Lessenberry
Issues this month:
AIDS Partnership Michigan in Detroit jumped on the cause bracelet bandwagon and started selling red bands that read “Knowledge is Power.”
BTL photo: Matthew Barton
1302 “Traditional AIDS ribbon gets a make over”
Unions embrace LGBT members
Pride At Work, the LGBT organization of union members, became the newest constituency group of the AFL-CIO. The re-configured group in Michigan elected new officers, built membership in 2004 and helped fight Proposal 2.
1303 “Two steps forward. Pride At Work links LGBT rights and union movements”
Gramick a humble hero
Sister Jeannine Gramick appeared at the Reel Pride Film Festival to answer audience questions after the screening of “In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick’s Journey of Faith,” a documentary about her ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics. The Vatican had condemned her to silence for her ministry and ordered her to renounce homosexuality as “evil.” Her answer was as courageous as it was simple. She said no.
BTL photo: D’Anne Witkowski
1303 “A humble beacon for truth”
Windfire disbands in Grand Rapids
Following two decades of weekly meetings in the basement of a church, the LGBT youth group Windfire disbanded on Dec. 23, 2004.
1302 “Windfire disbands after 20 years in Grand Rapids”
Jim Domanski, co-owner of Pronto! was named Businessperson of the Year by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce.
BTL file photo
1303 “Gay man named Royal Oak business leader of the year”
Happy news on grants
Kalamazoo-based Arcus Foundation announced $1.4 million in grants to 28 organizations, including $220,560 to Michigan-based LGBT groups. The HOPE Fund awarded $30,000 to SE Michigan LGBT projects.
1303 “Arcus foundation announces fall cycle 2004 grant awardees”
1302 “The HOPE Fund awards $30,000 in grants”
The anti-marriage amendment fight in Maine began to heat up with an anti-gay rep introducing a “pro-gay” marriage bill.
1303 “Anti-gay rep introduces pro-gay marriage bill in Maine, LGBT’s call foul”
The federal anti-marriage amendment was reintroduced in the Senate. It later died before it could reach the House.
1304 “Federal marriage amendment re-introduced in Senate”
An anti-gay foster care ban was overturned in Arkansas.
Chris Kolb was reelected to his third and final term in the Michigan House in Nov. 2004.
BTL photo: Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Fighting back after anti-marriage amendment
Michigan’s LGBT community rallied to protest the anti-marriage constitutional amendment passed by voters in Nov. 2004. Two hundred people gathered at the Capitol to demand protection for LGBT families as new lawmakers began their first session of the year Jan. 12.
PFLAG’s Mike Neubecker and his wife Jan were part of a protest at the Archdiocese in Detroit. They held a sign that read “God’s money misused to deceive.” BTL reported that the Catholic Church provided most of the funds to the campaign to support Proposal 2.
Seven battle-tested LGBT leaders led a Town Hall Meeting at Wayne State University. They addressed about 150 activists about what would be effective strategies after the stunning loss on Proposal 2. Each hammered home their renewed commitment to unity within the LGBT community and with allies. Shea Howell moderated.
One bright spot in the 2004 vote was the reelection of Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor), the only openly gay member of the Michigan legislature. In an interview with BTL he predicted that the right wing would use Proposal 2 to justify further attacks on LGBT families. Later in the year, Republican Attorney General Mike Cox issued an opinion that employees of the City of Kalamazoo should be denied domestic partner benefits because of his interpretation of Proposal 2. The lawsuit continues to work through the courts.
1302 “The legislator is always in – and out – at the Capitol”
1303 “Citizens demand equal rights”
1303 “Activists unite at WSU panel”
1304 “Catholics against equality: Michigan Catholics gave $1 million to hurt LGBT families Nov. 2”
Cover of the Month
The popular cartoon character SpongeBob SqaurePants was targeted by the right wing after his appearance in a video for children promoting tolerance. Conservatives claimed the video promoted “the gay lifestyle.”
Gay rights advocates said they are unaware of the sexual orientation of SpongeBob. Scientists have acknowledged that most sponges are both male and female. (see http://mbgnet.mobot.org/salt/animals/sponges.htm.)
1304 “SpongeBob absorbs right-wing attack”
Gay Pioneer at Reel Pride
Frank Kameny, founder of the Mattachine Society, helped organize some of the very first gay rights demonstrations, including the first-ever demonstration at the White House in 1965. He came to Detroit for the Reel Pride Film Festival to the screening of “Gay Pioneers,” a documentary about that demonstration. He’s pictured here with Dr. John Corvino of Wayne State, one of the Reel Pride organizers. Dozens of films aired during the weeklong festival.
BTL photo: Jason A. Michael
1304 “Frank Kameny, a founding father of the gay rights movement. Coming to Reel Pride”