gay rights

Politics
11:35 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Troy Mayor apologizes for slight to gay community

Troy's Mayor apologized for a Facebook comment she made last June.
Janice Daniels

Last June, Janice Daniels reacted to the state of New York legalizing gay marriage. According to detroit.cbs.local.com, she wrote on her Facebook page:

“I  think I’m going to throw away my I love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married.”

Daniels is the newly-elected Mayor of Troy, and now she's facing protests from students of Troy High School at 3 p.m. today.

Daniels apologized for the comment on the Charlie Langton show this morning.

“I absolutely do regret it, I shouldn’t have used such language, and while I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, it was inappropriate to use that language...For me to have said it, it was a poke in the eye and it was inappropriate and I do apologize.

“It was meant to be a joke, just a funny, just a poke, just a silly thing.”

Daniels' comment came to light when Josh Schirle of Ferndale launched a Facebook page opposing the Troy Mayor.

From the detroit.cbs.local.com:

Schirle spearheaded today’s planned protest, telling WWJ Newsradio he was appalled by her post. Oakland County’s Troy, notably, is only a few miles away from Ferndale, considered one of Michigan’s most active gay, lesbian, and transgendered communities.

“There is nothing dignified about the words that she said, whether that’s her viewpoint or not, that’s hate. I don’t think anyone thinks hate is acceptable,” said Schirle.

Of the protesters, Daniels said, "I hope they will forgive me."

Culture of Class
7:00 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Mixing it up on the dance floor

DJ Urbn (pronounced "urban") says the club attracts a mix of people
DJ Urbn

On the dance floor at Stiletto’s nightclub in Inkster you will find nurses, hair stylists, factory workers, fast food employees, students, professors, and business people. They come from tight-knit neighborhoods in Detroit, ritzy enclaves in Royal Oak, and from university campuses.

People in their twenties dance next to senior citizens, and there is every shade of skin tone in this place.

The club’s personnel manager Carolyn Sopko calls the crowd diverse and inclusive.

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Politics
3:37 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Legislation would block local protections for gays, lesbians

Republican state Representative Tom McMillin has proposed a law that would forbid civil rights protections that are more expansive than Michigan’s civil rights law.

The measure would apply to local governments, school districts and state agencies. Its aim is to block ordinances that offer legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Right now at least 18 Michigan communities have such laws on the books.

Critics say the measure appears to violate the rights of local governments to conduct their own affairs. 

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Politics
4:32 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Michigan House votes to ban domestic partner benefits

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature have started another attempt to block the offering of taxpayer-paid health insurance to domestic partners living with
public employees.

The House passed legislation by a 64-44, mostly party line vote Thursday aimed at prohibiting public employers from offering the benefits. The legislation advances to the Senate.

Minority Democrats say the bills are unconstitutional and would be challenged in court.

Republicans supporting the bills say they reflect the will of Michigan voters who decided in 2004 to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission has voted to allow domestic partner benefits for some state employees starting in October. Republicans tried to overturn the decision but couldn't get the two-thirds majority vote needed in the House.

Science/Medicine
2:04 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Giving blood: Your responses

John Chevier Flickr

This morning we posted Mark Brush's story about giving blood, including why some people are disallowed from giving.

The story started with a post to Facebook about giving blood, and the comments you posted about the rules for giving.

Now that the final story has been posted, people are still reacting.

Anita Weber says, "Here's one way they can start...by using different sized needles! I've been turned away three times because they only use one size of needle. I avidly exercise so I'm not buying them telling me to lift weights more! My veins are the size they are! Their loss! I wanted and still want to donate!"

Carrie Paps responds, saying, "I give all the time, 2 gallons so far, but I understand the issues. Sometimes my iron is too low and sometimes they can't find a vein."

Craig Hennigan still objects to rules for giving blood. He says, "The lifetime ban for gay men is still stupid, homophobic, and wrong."

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Science/Medicine
7:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Questions about blood donation screening

The Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability said more research is needed before changes are made to the self-deferral questionnaire.
redcrossofnci.org

  The American Red Cross says they're facing a critical shortage to the nation's blood supply. And blood donations often drop in the summer when people are busy or traveling.

So they want you to give.

When we posted information about the appeal on our Facebook page, it sparked a debate about blood donor screening.

Not everyone can give blood. Only about 37%  of us can. Donors are pre-screened for potential exposure to diseases to keep the blood supply safe.

But many people feel some healthy donors are needlessly kept from donating blood.

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Politics
9:04 am
Tue July 26, 2011

Courts say same-sex partners do not have custody rights

The state Supreme Court has refused to take the case of a lesbian woman who wants the right to visit the children she helped raise with her ex-partner.

The court’s decision lets stand a lower court ruling that same-sex partners do not have custody rights in Michigan.

Renee Harmon and Tammy Davis were together for 19 years, and during that time started a family together. Davis served as the biological mother via artificial insemination to their three children. After the relationship broke up, Harmon was denied visitation and sued for parenting time.

Michigan does not recognize same-sex relationships - nor does it allow unmarried couples to adopt.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Harmon lacked the legal standing to sue.

The state Supreme Court allowed that decision to stand by refusing to take the case.

The court divided on party lines in its decision. Republican majority voted not to take the case. Democrats said the court should.

In her dissent to the order, Justice Marilyn Kelly wrote the case raises so many questions regarding the state constitution and parents’ rights that it “cries out for a ruling from the state’s highest court.”

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Politics
1:19 pm
Sat June 25, 2011

New law clears the way for gay marriage in NY

Flickr/Marlith

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed New York's gay marriage bill, starting what is expected to be a crush of gay weddings beginning in 30 days.
    

Legal Issues
1:25 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

ACLU says Rochester High School is denying students First Amendment rights

Rochester High School, Rochester, Michigan
(GOOGLE Earth, Street View)

The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing Rochester High School administrators of denying students their First Amendment rights. The ACLU claims the web filtering software on the school’s computers censors Gay and Lesbian websites.   

Jay Kaplan is with the ACLU of Michigan. He says it's an important legal issue.  

“Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they enter the schoolhouse door.   Schools need to take a closer look at this sort of thing.”

Kaplan says if the school district does not change its web filtering software, the ACLU might take Rochester Community Schools to court. 

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Politics
6:58 am
Wed March 23, 2011

State House fails to reject domestic partner benefits

Domestic partner benefits include benefits to gay and non-gay couples.
user dbking Flickr

The State House failed to reject the Michigan Civil Service Commission's decision to allow state employees to enjoy domestic partner benefits.

The benefits, originally negotiated between the Granholm administration and about 70% of the public employee unions, are scheduled to go into effect October 1st. The benefits are extended to unmarried partners (gay or heterosexual) and their dependents who have lived together for more than one year.

Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reported on yesterday's vote in the State House:

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Politics
10:42 am
Tue March 22, 2011

State House might vote on domestic partner benefits today

Your state reps may vote on domestic partner benefits today.
Danny Hammontree Flickr

Last January, the Michigan Civil Service Commission approved domestic partner benefits for state employees. The benefits were scheduled to go into effect on October 1st.

The ruling went against the Snyder administration's wishes, and the state legislature has been working to overturn the ruling. The State Senate passed a resolution against the domestic partner benefit ruling earlier this month.

Today, the State House is expected to vote on a resolution which would overrule the MCSC's January decision.

Todd Heywood wrote about the resolution in today's Michigan Messenger:

If the House approves the measure, it will be the first time in the history of the MCSC that a decision by the body was overturned by the legislature. Republicans are also seeking a ballot initiative to remove the MCSC from the state constitution, and in the meantime has been working to strip the body of much of its power.

Heywood reports "the House currently has a 63 member GOP majority. But approving this resolution requires a two-thirds super majority, which means 74 votes, so 11 Democrats need to cross party lines in order for the bill to pass."

As MPRN's Rick Pluta reported, the Snyder administration said it objected to MCSC's decision because of the cost - estimated at around $6 million.

The rules were expected to cover 70% of all state employees. Their unmarried partners and dependents who have lived with them for a year or more would be eligible for the benefits. The eligibility is the equal for gay and heterosexual couples.

The benefits had to be equally available to gay and heterosexual couples because 59% of Michigan voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. The "defense of marriage amendment" is now part of the Michigan Constitution.

On the Radio
4:30 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

In case you missed it...

user cpstorm Flickr

Here are a few stories that either I heard, my colleagues and friends heard, or pieces that our online friends found interesting on Michigan Radio this week.

(We want to hear about your favorites! Please add them to the comments section below)

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Military ban on gays
4:21 pm
Sat December 18, 2010

Senate vote overturns "don't ask, don't tell"

A big change is in the works for gay military members
Flickr user Umpqua Creative Commons

Associated Press reports The Senate has voted to overturn "don't ask, don't tell." Today's 65-31 vote sends the bill to President Barack Obama, who's expected to sign it next week. The new law will allow gay service members to acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.

 

More coverage of that story here.

Free speech
9:54 pm
Mon November 1, 2010

CMU students listen to and protest lecture of fundamental church members

CMU students protesting the appearance of the Westboro Baptist Church members
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church spoke to journalism students at Central Michigan University Monday. The church is known for protesting at the funerals of U.S. soldiers. The group was invited to speak to journalism law students about how far free speech is protected by the first amendment.

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PPO request dropped against anti-gay blogger
1:32 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

U-M student leader drops request for PPO against assistant state attorney general

Andrew Shirvell, assistant Michigan Attorney General
(photo is a screen capture of a CNN broadcast posted on a Facebook page)

A University of Michigan student leader has dropped his request for a personal protection order against an assistant state attorney general.

Andrew Shirvell used his blog to attack Chris Armstrong for promoting what Shirvell called a radical homosexual agenda on campus.

Shirvell also protested at events where Armstrong was present.

Philip Thomas is Andrew Shirvell's lawyer.

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Gay rights
11:43 pm
Thu October 21, 2010

Holland to consider adding gender identity, sexual orientation to anti-discrimination laws

Residents packed Holland City Hall for the Human Relation Commission meeting Thursday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

An advisory board voted unanimously to recommend city council pass the measure Thursday night.

The board has been studying the issue for months. They took it up at the request of Reverend Bill Freeman. The Holland pastor says those who spoke against expanding protections to those groups embody why it's needed. "I mean to be homosexual, or to be a lesbian or gay person in Holland - it would seem to be problematic. Because there are so many people who oppose them - oppose their existence," Freeman said.

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Homecoming King
3:21 pm
Thu October 7, 2010

Transgender student is king to many high school peers

Oak Reed's ballots for Homecoming King were not allowed to be counted by Mona Shores High School
Photo courtesy of Oak Reed

Oak Reed ran for Homecoming King at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, but school officials tossed out Reed's ballots because, anatomically, Reed is not a male. That set off a national debate over transgender rights:

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