Opposition for Prop 2 grows
Opposition for anti-gay Prop 2 continued to grow this month. Most noticeably, Gov. Jennifer Granholm came out against it, saying it went too far and declaring, “I would be so proud of Michigan if Proposal 2 were voted down.”
At a combined press conference in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building in downtown Detroit, City Council President Maryann Mahaffey, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D – Mich.), AFL-CIO President Donald Boggs and Michigan ACLU Executive Director Kary Moss all urged voters to reject the measure. State Representative Bill McConico and State Senators Hansen Clarke and Buzz Thomas also sent statements that were read.
“I do not support this discriminatory and divisive proposal,” read Thomas’ statement in part. “Residents of Detroit need to be care careful that they are not duped into voting for the measure based on misleading advertising paid for by out-of-state interests.
Most mainstream media outlets across the state also encouraged their readers to reject it. The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Lansing State Journal, The Saginaw News, the Monroe Evening News, The Oakland Press, The Flint Journal, The Grand Rapids Press and the Macomb Daily all published opinion pieces against the measure.
Brutal gay bashing occurs at Lansing high school
A brutal attack that happened last month at Eastern High School is confirmed as an act of gay bashing, according to police and prosecutors. Police say accused assailant Jeremy Lee, 17, entered Lansing Eastern High School and brutally beat his victim, an unnamed 16-year-old student.
When asked if the victim’s alleged sexual orientation was the motivation in the attack, lead detective James Gill said, “Yes. That is correct.” The attack left the victim in a medically induced coma for several days.
According to Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings, Lee allegedly attacked the victim because of an argument the two had at the end of the last school year at Walter French Academy, the now-defunct charter school. “I think the defendant made an innuendo that the victim might be gay,” Dunnings said.
Police say Lee came to Eastern High School without permission and was therefore trespassing at the time of the assault. Mark Mayes, a spokesman for Lansing Public Schools, said Lee had no reason to be at the school. “He was not a student at the school. There were no records pertaining to him at the school. He had no legitimate reason to be at the school.”
Lee has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. A hearing was scheduled for later in the month.
Statewide AIDS Walk raises $215,000
Nearly 3,000 walkers statewide joined to raise close to a quarter of a million dollars for AIDS agencies Oct. 2-3. From Grand Rapids with 800 walkers to Berrien County with 150, the goal was the same – to support people living with HIV/AIDS. AIDS agencies have become increasingly dependant on the walks due to cuts in federal and state spending.
“I think the thing that people need to realize is that over the past three years, funding for AIDS services at the Federal government level has either remained flat or shrunk,” said Barb Murray, president of AIDS Walk Michigan, the organization that orchestrates the statewide Walk. “Every AIDS organization in this state is facing that same issue – decreased funding and increased demand for services.”
Grand Rapids, which with 800 walkers and $51,000 raised was the largest of the weekend walks, started out damp and chilly. In Detroit, which had struggled to maintain its momentum in past year, about 500 walkers raised $50,000, an increase of about $8,000 from last year.
The greater Lansing area LGBT community gathered Oct. 2 to celebrate and honor those who have volunteered, led and contributed to the fight for equal rights with the 11th annual Prism Awards.
On the edge of the 30th anniversary of “Lesbian Connection,” one of its founders, Margy Lesher, was honored with the capstone award of the evening, The Prism Award. The evening also honored student Jason Bryans for his bravery and leadership in establishing a GSA at Mason High school and his continued work with LGBT students at Michigan State University.
Other honorees were Gina Beaudry, Diane Burns, Club 505, Douglas Rainey, Carrie E.V. Tune-Copeland, Christopher Greene-Szmadzinski, Judy Hazelo, T.J. Jourian, Dr. Jon Lacey, Cynthia Paul, PJ Two Ravens, Kenneth R. Richmond, Mark E. Sartor, Eric D. Scheck, Jim Shewell, Cherrie Specht, Maxine Thome, Nick C. Visscher and Stacy F. Waldo.
• Ken Christopher, the founder of the Moon-lit Movie Club and a founding member of Brothers United in Literary Text, died Oct. 2. He was 43.
• The Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan’s HOPE Fund turned 10.