Compiled by Sharon Gittleman
Art for Wellness CEnter, Colonis, HRC Federal and Ruth Ellis Center
• Anti-gay marriage resolution passes
By a 14-10 vote, the Oakland County Commission passed a resolution declaring their opposition to LGBT marriage. The resolution put the Commissioners on record demanding a vote by Michigan residents for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The Oakland vote was part of a statewide effort to pressure County Commissions to place the issue on the ballot. The Jackson County Commission and the Lapeer County Board of Commissioners passed similar resolutions later in the month.
• Lobby created to protect PWA
The Michigan Positive Action Coalition was formed to lobby policy makers about legislation affecting people with AIDS.
“With cuts in federal funding and the state not being able to pick up the difference, it is vital that PWA’s speak up to ensure their needs are met,” said Mi-Poz member Rick Otterbein.
The group also plans to train advocates and provide community awareness activities.
• LGBT Backlash fought
Over 30 leaders of Michigan’s lesbian and gay community met to form a coalition designed to fight the anti-gay backlash sweeping across the country – a fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s sodomy decision and the legalization of gay marriage in Canada. LGBT leaders emphasized the importance of community unity in the battle against the anti-gay forces.
• Attempt to block gay benefits
The Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit to block the Ann Arbor Public School District from providing insurance benefits to same-sex couples, an option offered in employee contracts. The suit, filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, claimed the contract provision violates a 1996 Michigan law that defines marriage as only existing between a man and a woman.
• AIDS agency closes
The HIV/AIDS Wellness Networks Grand Traverse Area closed Sept 30, after 16 years helping clients in the rural areas of northwestern Michigan. The decision to terminate the agency came after the Network was unable to secure funding to achieve its goals.
• AIDS Walk Detroit
Over 6,000 people participated in the 13th Annual AIDS Walk Detroit, raising over $300,000 to help fund prevention projects and service programs for people with HIV. Politicians, like honorary co-chairs of the walk Carl and Sander Levin, joined people from every profession, race, religion and sexual orientation to help their friends and neighbors. Student groups, including 250 youngsters from Grosse Pointe North High school, joined the crowds marching through downtown Royal Oak on September 19. The Grosse Pointe students raised over $8,000.
• Ann Arbor gays celebrate
It wasn’t hard to find the Kerrytown Theater during the 2003 Outfest in Ann Arbor. You just followed the bagpipe troupe leading the way. Once at the theater, Outfest attendees heard coming out stories and enjoyed a special performance by poet and author River Houston. A rally and information booths added to the day’s fun.
• Detroit’s Full Truth Fellowship of Christ Church celebrated the 14th anniversary of the gay-friendly house of worship with a series of group discussions and a dance during the weekend of September 14.
• Cyril Colonius announced his intention to leave his post as executive director of the Community AIDS Resource and Education Services of Southwest Michigan to move to California with his partner.
• Brenda Stoneburner, the former director of Lansing Area AIDS Network, accepted a position as a public health consultant with the Michigan Department of Community Health.
• Brian Tremain was named co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign’s Federal Club in Michigan.