Michigan vigils honor Orlando victims

Jun 12, 2016

Members of Metro Detroit’s LGBT community and allies are mourning the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

A group held a vigil for them at Ferndale City Hall tonight.

Julia Music is the chair of Ferndale Pride.

She called the attack an act of “hate, terrorism, and ignorance.”

But Music urged the group to keep welcoming Muslims, who she says have just started to join Detroit’s LGBT community “in visible numbers.”

“Please open your arms wide to them,” Music said. “I’ve heard their stories. And they face unspeakable acts of discrimination, just by being Muslims in our country. Please don’t perpetuate that hate.”

Similar vigils around Michigan Sunday night also marked the deaths of the 50 people in Orlando.

In Ann Arbor, people gathered at a courtyard that hosted a celebration almost a year ago after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

Rosalee Wright says she’s the mother of a gay son. She wants to see stricter gun laws.

“We have got to change laws that will make it much for difficult to get a gun that sounded like the beat of a song in a night spot because it was such a fast and furious fuselage,” she said.

There are 48 bills before the Michigan Legislature dealing with guns.

Stephenie White is the executive director of Equality Michigan. She says adding LGBT protections to the state’s civil rights law would be a step in the right direction.

“It says we’re not second-class citizens, and as long as we still are second-class citizens, unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are sad an unstable who will take that to violent ends,” she said. “This was a sad, stark reminder of how much our community is seen as disposable, as second-class, as other, and as a valid target.”

The effort to add LGBT protections to the civil rights law is stalled in the Michigan Legislature, along with a bill to enact a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Leaders of Michigan’s Muslim community have also condemned the Orlando attack.

Governor Rick Snyder ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff in memory of those killed.

Members of Michigan congressional delegation also expressed sympathy.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, said “the epidemic of gun violence in America must come to an end.”