Nov. 2 a dark day for gays
Following the national trend, Michiganders voted by a margin of 59-41 to change the state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Ten other states across the country enacted similar measures. Michigan, to its credit, was one of only two states that secured a “no” vote of at least 40 percent. The other was Oregon, which finished 57-43.
Susan Horowitz, co-publisher of Between The Lines and a co-chair of the Coalition for a Fair Michigan, said that while this battle has been lost, the war is not over. “It was and continues to be an incredible journey. We are only beginning tonight to stand up for what’s right in this state and in this country. We will see other setbacks tomorrow morning in the newspaper, but we are as organized in this state and across the country as we’ve ever been. We’ve made great headway with only four percent of us fully out in our lives. So think what our power is. We’ve had thousands – no probably hundreds of thousands – of conversations in this state. Tomorrow we’re going to wake up and we’re going to continue those conversations. We’re going to work with our allies even more fully and more closely and the day will come when this constitutional amendment will be reversed. I promise you.”
BTL, Pride PAC endorsees do well
Candidates endorsed by Between The Lines in our Voters’ Guide as well as those endorsed by Pride PAC did well across the state in the general election. Sixty-four percent of BTL-endorsed state house candidates won their elections, as did 68 percent of the candidates endorsed by Pride PAC.
Across the state Democrats picked up five seats in the house, thus narrowing the GOP majority from 63-47 to 58-52. Big winners were Chris Kolb, who kept his house seat with over 80 percent of the vote, former Royal Oak Commissioner Marie Donigan, who succeeded in her bid to serve as a state Representative and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly, who easily won reelection. The Triangle Foundation called Kelly a “clarion voice for justice.”
Transgender Day of Remembrance observed
The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed Nov. 17 with a service at Metropolitan Community Church – Detroit. Organized by Transgender Michigan, the service was hosted by Michelle Fox-Phillips and Jamie Phillips-Fox. Speakers included Rev. Mark Bidwell, Atiba Seitu from the Ruth Ellis Center, Sean Kosofsky from the Triangle Foundation, Don Sidelinker and and TM’s Rachel Crandall.
“Sometimes I get calls from people who are so lonely, who are scared to go outside, who want to reach out bust don’t what to do,” Crandall said. “They are isolated, and dying quietly that way.”
Detroit settles suit brought after Rouge Park arrest
Joseph Thompson knew he had been wrongfully arrested, and went from lawyer to lawyer following his 2001 arrest until he found one who agreed with him. That lawyer, James Rasor, helped him win a hefty, though undisclosed, settlement from the City of Detroit. Thompson said he did no more than wave to a man in a passing truck before he was forced off the road by a squad of police cars. He was then taken the 6th Precinct, held for five hours while handcuffed to a chair and eventually let go with an “annoying persons” citation and $6,000 worth of impound fees.
“I think the City of Detroit knew that they had liability for it,” said Rasor of the settlement, which became official this month. “They had a couple of bad officers running a poorly thought out operation that was mean spirited and was vile and the city knew they had liability for it and paid for it, and I’m very happy with the result for the client.”
• Michael Sweazey, a co-owner of Gigi’s in Detroit, succumbed to his year-long battle with cancer on Nov. 16. He was 51.
• Terry J. Romatz, a longtime employee of Metra magazine, died on Oct. 27.
• Deborah LaBelle was honored as the 2004 Civil Libertarian of the year at the ACLU’s annual dinner Nov. 20.