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By | 2004-01-01T09:00:00-05:00 January 1st, 2004|Uncategorized|

Compiled by Sharon Gittleman

• Love doesn’t conquer all
A Michigan State University resident hall assistant director resigned her job after she was denied the right to live with her partner. University policy forbids students in same-sex domestic partnerships from sharing residence hall living quarters.
“This affected our personal life, our academic achievement and our professional performance,” said Carolyn O’Laughlin. “I woke up every day wondering if I would be fired.”
University officials notified O’Laughlin that she would face disciplinary action if her partner did not move out.
O’Laughlin described the couple’s experience as “dehumanizing.”

• Declaration makes history
Governor Jennifer Granholm proclaimed April 9, “Day of Silence in Michigan Schools.” Students were encouraged to remain silent on that day to bring attention to the harassment and discrimination LGBT youths face at school. The document marks the first time a pro-LGBT proclamation was issued by a Michigan chief executive.

• Gay prisoners privacy protected
The Michigan Department of Correction announced gay prisoners will no longer be identified as “homosexuals,” on department forms and records. The step will help prevent harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment against incarcerated lesbians and gays. Previously, lesbian and gay status was listed in a prisoner category including “drug abuser,” “assault-prone” and “belligerent.”

• Anti-gay conference protested
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Soulforce Detroit, the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit and the Triangle Foundation were among the protesters at the Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out,” conference, designed to encourage gays and lesbians to “go straight”. At the gathering, over 1,000 therapists, pastors, parents and LGBT people heard how gays can be “cured” through two-year sexual reorientation programs.
Gay groups held a vigil outside the conference, walked the picket line with protest signs and passed out pamphlets explaining why reparative therapy doesn’t work.

• Granholm calls for new laws
Governor Jennifer Granholm issued a statement asking the Michigan legislature to pass hate crimes laws protecting people attacked because of their sexual orientation.
Several legislators spoke out in favor of protecting gays and lesbians under Michigan law.
“Hate crimes are not just an attack against the individual, ” said Ann Arbor Representative Chris Kolb, “they are attacks against an entire community.”

• Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Downriver Vice President Mike Neubecker received an achievement award from the National Organization of Women on April 10.
• The Ruth Ellis Center was awarded a $1 million federal grant to fund a transitional living residence for abandoned LGBT teens.
• White supremacist murderer James Williams, 32, was sentenced to 29 years to life for shooting and killing a gay couple while they were asleep in their home. Williams will start serving his sentence after he completes 21 years in federal prison for bombing three synagogues and an abortion clinic.
• Attorney Kara Jennings was awarded the American Civil Liberties Union-Michigan Tom Steel Post-Graduate Fellowship, given to help lawyers working on innovative public interest law projects serving the LGBT community.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.