Perhaps the reason it’s so disappointing that Eastpointe failed to pass a Pride Month resolution this year is because the city is believed to be the first to ever do so in Macomb County back in 2019. It just happened on May 16, when the Eastpointe City Council failed to pass the resolution by a 2-2 vote.
Councilmembers Harvey Curley and Cardi DeMonaco voted in favor of the resolution. Rob Baker and Stacy Cobb-Muniz voted against it. Mayor Monique Owens was absent from the meeting. The tie vote meant the resolution failed to pass. Owens had previously voted against a Pride Month resolution so it likely would have been a 3-2 no vote if she’d been in attendance.
Owens first voted no on a Pride Month resolution in 2019. At the time, she told Pride Source that “when this was put on the agenda, I didn’t sleep for a couple days because I didn’t know that we did not accept the LGBTQ community. Because as a family town, we’ve always accepted everybody. I didn’t know we had to make a distinction on what that is.”
In 2020, after Owens again voted against a similar resolution, Eastpointe resident Tim Kniaz told Pride Source that Owens “basically shut out a whole entire demographic of people by not [voting for it].”
DeMonaco spoke to the Macomb Daily about his disappointment after the May 16 vote. “People want to love who they love just like everybody else, and we need to support them and promote equality by supporting Pride Month in the city,” he said. “Hopefully we can consider that in the future.”
Chris Kipp is a member of Macomb County Pride. Kipp provided Pride Source with this statement written by the board: “It’s disappointing that the elected leaders chose not to recognize Pride Month this year,” the statement reads in part. “We are seeing an increase of aggressive actions targeted to the queer community at school board meetings, such as Richmond and Romeo Community Schools, and residents attacking other districts such as Chippewa Valley Schools.”
“We know that teenagers especially are a vulnerable population and need affirming voices in their lives,” the statement continues. “We hope that teenagers in Eastpointe and Macomb County are able to find those voices — even if it isn’t coming from their city council.”
Erin Knott, executive director of Equality Michigan, was also disappointed by the vote.
It sends “a clear message that LGBTQ+ people are not welcome, valued and safe in their community,” said Knott. “This comes at a time when many LGBTQ+ individuals and families, including queer and trans youth, have been hearing nothing but legislative violence across the country and here in Michigan. They are undoubtedly feeling very scared and alone. This is not leadership. This is bigotry and coldness, and it has no place anywhere in Michigan."