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Did a Homophobic Michigan Senate Block This Openly Gay Whitmer Appointee?

Equality Michigan Exec. Director: Former State Rep. Jon Hoadley a 'victim of partisan politics'

Jason A. Michael

Former State Rep. Jon Hoadley, appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to serve on the board of Western Michigan University, was denied that opportunity by the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate in what opponents say amounts to homophobia.

“I’m extremely disappointed the Michigan Senate disapproved of my appointment to the WSU Board of Trustees,” Hoadley tweeted after the vote. “The faculty, staff and students at WSU are doing important work which I have spent years supporting in my community and in the Michigan Legislature.” He lost out on the appointment in a vote of 20-18.

Hoadley, who is openly gay, was a state representative from 2015-2020. Hoadley was one of two Whitmer appointments — the second being Michael Ryan at Ferris State University — who failed to make it through the Senate. In 2021, Senate Republicans also rejected Jason Morgan, an openly gay Whitmer appointee, for the Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees.

Jeremy Moss, an openly gay state senator since 2019, had this to say about Republicans rejecting LGBTQ+ appointees.

“The most prominent Republican core value is to prevent #LGBTQ people from fully participating in our educational institutions — not as students, teachers, & apparently now university board members as MI Senate GOP rejected @jonhoadley’s appointment to @WesternMichU,” he tweeted.

Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott released a statement in response to the Senate vote. "It seems as if this is a Republican ruse to deny the appointment, simply because Jon is an openly gay man,” the statement read in part. “What's even more egregious is the fact that many of these senators served with Jon during his tenure in the Michigan Legislature and can attest to his ability to serve."

“Jon is an extremely qualified Kalamazoo leader and important member of the LGBTQ+ community,” the statement went on. “It's unfortunate that he is the victim of partisan politics.”

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