CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS — BullyPolice.org agrees with AFA-Michigan on "bullying" legislation

Dear AFA-Michigan supporter,

Today’s story in the Muskegon Chronicle is a dramatic development in the six-year history of so-called “bullying” legislation in Michigan.

We’ve been telling every reporter we’ve talked to since we learned last May that the nation’s leading anti-bullying organization agrees with AFA-Michigan that such legislation should not include “thought crime” language or segregating students into special protected class categories based on homosexual behavior or cross-dressing. For the first time, a news outlet in Michigan has finally reported the truth on this issue.

Please call your state legislators today and urge them to oppose House Bills 4163 and 4173 and Senate Bills 0045 and 0137 as written, all of which include either the “thought crime” or segregation language backed by homosexual activist groups. Tell your legislators that you agree with both AFA-Michigan and BullyPolice.org in opposing such language, and urge that it be removed.

Find your representative: http://house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp
Find your senator: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysenator/fysenator.htm

Thanks as always for your support!
Glenn's signature

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From Thursday’s Muskegon Chronicle...

BullyPolice.org agrees with AFA-Michigan:
“Victims’ characteristics should not be
included” in school bullying legislation

“Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-6th district, introduced an anti-bullying bill in the state senate in January that calls attention to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students… That language is objectionable to some religious advocacy groups, including the American Family Association of Michigan, which says that anti-bullying laws should be worded to protect ‘all’ students, without singling out a particular group.

…American Family Association of Michigan President Gary Glenn said he is worried that mentioning sexual orientation and gender identity in an anti-bullying bill is a ‘Trojan horse’ to protect those characteristics under Michigan anti-discrimination laws. He said students would still be protected under a bill that doesn’t mention sexual orientation or gender identity. ‘We will not oppose legislation that protects all students from bullying for all reasons,’ he said. ‘The word ‘all’ obviously would include students that are involved in the homosexual lifestyle.’

…Brenda High, co-director of BullyPolice.org and mother of a teen who committed suicide after being bullied, said she supports efforts to pass anti-bullying legislation, but thinks victims’ characteristics should not be included.”

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MUSKEGON CHRONICLE
Muskegon, Michigan
February 10, 2011

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/02/muskegon_county_schools_fight.html
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LONDON DAILY MAIL — The West's cultural totalitarians

The issue isn’t just morality. It’s freedom.

For a preview from abroad of the social and eventually legal repression of religious free speech rights we’ll face in America if we fail to fight homosexual activists’ so-called “gay rights” agenda, please read the two commentaries below, published in successive weeks last month by a columnist for the London Daily Mail.

Forewarned is forearmed. Be assured that AFA-Michigan will continue to lead the fight in our state to block this impending threat to your family’s religious freedom.

If you think that stand worthy of support, make a tax deductible contribution
right now by secure credit card online:

https://www.campaigncontribution.com/version6/process/info.asp?id=1700&jid=
Or by mail to PO Box 1904, Midland, Michigan 48641.

Thank you for standing with us.
Glenn's signature
Gary Glenn
President

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THE DAILY MAIL
London, England
January 24, 2011

Britain’s new McCarthyites
by Melanie Phillips

Here’s a question ­shortly coming to an examination ­paper near you. What have mathematics, geography or science to do with homosexuality?
Nothing at all, you say? Zero marks for you, then.

For, mad as this may seem, schoolchildren are to be bombarded with homosexual references in maths, geography and ­science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to promote the gay agenda.

In geography, for example, they will be told to consider why homosexuals move from the ­countryside to cities. In maths, they will be taught ­statistics through census ­findings about the number of ­homosexuals in the population.

In science, they will be directed to ­animal species such as emperor ­penguins and sea horses, where the male takes a lead role in raising its young.

Alas, this gay curriculum is no laughing matter. Absurd as it sounds, this is but the latest attempt to brainwash children with propaganda under the ­camouflage of ­education. It is an abuse of childhood.

And it’s all part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very ­concept of normal sexual behaviour.

Not so long ago, an epic political battle raged over teaching children that ­homosexuality was normal. The fight over Section 28, as it became known, resulted in the repeal of the legal requirement on schools not to promote homosexuality.

As the old joke has it, what was once impermissible first becomes tolerated and then becomes mandatory.

And the other side of that particular coin, as we are now discovering, is that values which were once the moral basis for British society are now deemed to be beyond the pale.

What was once an attempt to end ­unpleasant attitudes towards a small sexual minority has now become a kind of bigotry in reverse.

Expressing what used to be the moral norm of Western civilisation is now not just socially impermissible, but even turns upstanding people into lawbreakers.

The bed and breakfast hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull — who were recently sued for turning away two homosexuals who wished to share a bedroom — were but the latest religious believers to fall foul of the gay inquisition merely for upholding Christian values.

Catholic adoption agencies were forced to shut down after they refused to place ­children with same-sex couples. Marriage registrars were forced to step down for refusing to officiate at civil unions.

Christian street preacher Dale McAlpine was charged with making threatening, ­abusive or insulting remarks for saying homosexuality was a sin to passers-by in Workington, Cumbria. In the event, the case against him was dropped and he won a police apology and compensation.

It seems that just about everything in Britain is now run according to the gay agenda. For in addition to the requirement for gay-friendly hotels, gay adoption and gay mathematics now comes, apparently, gay drugs policy.

Last week, the Government announced the appointment of some new ­members to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, who included a GP by the name of Hans-Christian Raabe.

Dr Raabe has long maintained a close interest in drug policy, on which he has robustly traditional views. He has spoken out in favour of ­abstinence-based approaches and criticised the flawed logic behind the claim that it is the illegality of drugs such as ­cannabis that is the problem.

Considering the unhappy fact that over recent years many on the Advisory Council have taken the ultra-liberal view that treating drug-users is the priority rather than reducing their numbers, Dr Raabe’s membership of the council was very welcome news.

But as soon as his appointment was announced, Dr Raabe was targeted in an astonishing attack.

For he is also a leading member of the Manchester-based Maranatha Community, which is dedicated to re-establishing ­Christian values in society and which campaigns against gay rights.

It was the BBC’s Home Editor Mark ­Easton who led the charge. On his BBC News blog, he announced that Dr Raabe’s views on homosexuality were causing such fury among (anonymous) members of the Advisory Council that at least one member was threatening to step down.

Well may you rub your eyes at that. Just what have his views on homosexuality got to do with illegal drugs? Well, according to Easton, more than one member of the ­council is gay or lesbian.

How extraordinary. Just imagine if the boot were on the other foot and Dr Raabe had refused to serve on the drugs council because some of its ­members were gay. He would be out on his ear within the hour.

How reprehensible of the BBC to lend itself to such a partisan attack. Unsurprisingly, Easton’s remarks provoked more advocates of drug ­liberalisation to join in the blood-sport of baiting Dr Raabe.

Yesterday’s Observer listed among his crimes certain briefing documents he had produced for MPs identifying the benefits of marriage in fighting drug addiction.

He had written, for example, that marriage is associated with greater happiness, less depression, less alcohol abuse and less smoking. But what’s the problem with that? It ­happens to be true.

The Observer reported that drugs charities and experts expressed surprise that someone of such ‘stringent opinions’ could be appointed to the Advisory Council.

Clearly, ‘stringent opinions’ in favour of drug liberalisation are considered entirely appropriate in such circles; but anyone who goes against the politically-correct grain on homosexuality or who has robust Christian views must be considered a bigot and thus have no place in public life.

In fact, anyone truly concerned to end the scourge of drug abuse should be delighted that at last there is a strong voice for ­common sense and morality on the ­Advisory Council.

Penalising religious people for speaking and acting in accordance with their beliefs is neither liberal nor tolerant. It is behaviour more commonly associated with totalitarian dictatorships.

It must be said that many gay people are themselves uneasy or even appalled by this increasingly oppressive use of their cause. Privately, many will say that all they ever want is to live free from discrimination and not to provoke discrimination against others.

After the case of Christian street preacher Dale McAlpine, the gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell spoke out in ­support of the rights of people to express their views against homosexuality — although, by ­contrast, he also endorsed the lawsuit against B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull on the grounds that the equality laws should apply to all.

Of course, for people such as the Bulls, George Orwell’s famous observation that some are more equal than others is all too painfully true. Indeed, the obsession with equality has now reached ludicrous, as well as oppressive, proportions.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has paid £100,000 for a report into how efforts to boost Britain’s coastal fish stocks would affect minority communities including the Chinese, ­homosexuals and Welsh speakers.

And the Department for Transport issued a study looking at harassment and discrimination on ships and hovercraft against a range of groups, including transsexuals.

Many different groups are involved in promoting this crazy, upside-down world of the equality agenda. But the seemingly all-­powerful gay rights lobby carries all before it. If it isn’t careful, it risks turning gay people from being the victims of prejudice into Britain’s new McCarthyites.

http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=792

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THE DAILY MAIL
London, England
January 31, 2011

The West’s cultural totalitarians
by Melanie Phillips

One week ago, I ­suggested on this page that some gay people were in danger of turning into the new McCarthyites by demonising and attempting to silence all who disagreed with the gay rights agenda.
Given the point I was making, it followed that I was expecting a reaction which would amply bear out the truth of what I had written. The response, ­however, exceeded even my expectations.

For during the past seven days, I have been ­subjected to an extraordinarily vicious outpouring of hate and incitement to violence, via email, the internet and in the mainstream media, and much worse besides.

In my article, I expressed concern that attempting to bar a Christian GP from the government’s advisory council on drugs because of his views on homosexuality, ­bombarding the school curriculum with irrelevant gay references, and prosecuting Christian hoteliers for refusing to ­accommodate gay men in the same bedroom were ­examples of a frightening intolerance.

The response to this warning against an attempt by the gay lobby to silence dissent? An eruption of tweets on Twitter suggesting that I should be killed. Yes, really.

Apologies if the hideous and obscene ­language shocks some readers, but examples of such tweets included: ‘Someone just kill Melanie Phillips please’; ‘your homo­phobic rant equals that which comes out of a dog’s rectum. Kill yourself you ****’; and ‘throw her in the Thames’.

And emails to me included such epithets as ‘vile, poisonous, horrible old woman’, and ‘people like you should be silenced as you insight (sic) bigotry and fear. Go and suck a tail pipe, get cancer, GET RAN OVER BY A TRAIN. I hope your ******* house burns down’.

All this because, having acknowledged the legitimacy of trying to protect gay people from true prejudice and discrimination, I suggested that Christians should not face discrimination against their beliefs!

If the gay lobby had set about trying to prove my point, it could hardly have done a better job. Indeed, the total inability of those who subjected me to such abuse to realise that they are, in fact, spewing out the very hatred, intolerance and incitement to violence of which they are accusing others would be hilarious were it not so terrifying.

For this is nothing less than a totalitarian mindset which turns truth, justice and rationality inside out. In the Independent, gay columnist Johann Hari furiously demanded why I thought it was ‘wrong to protect gay children’ from bullying. Eh? What on earth was he talking about?

What I actually wrote about was the grossly inappropriate flooding of school subjects such as maths or science with irrelevant gay references. Yet he accused me, in effect, not only of being indifferent to the bullying of gay children but of fomenting attitudes which cause them to be bullied.

But there is nothing to suggest that ­anything I have ever written has had ­anything to do with the victimisation of a gay child — let alone other supposed crimes Hari hurled my way (if he’d had a kitchen sink to hand, doubtless he’d have hurled that, too).

If anything incites hatred, this vicious attack is surely it — a graphic ­advertisement of the totalitarianism of which I was warning. For such libellous and Orwellian ­distortions help create the witch-hunt atmosphere (indeed, in several messages I was actually called a ‘witch’) that leads directly to the open incitement to violence and murder on such appalling display during the past week.

The key distinction I have always made is between gay people — against whom I have no harsh feelings — and the gay political agenda. (And I seem to recall that once upon a time Hari himself paid tribute to me for making just such a distinction.)

I am firmly against all bullying and ­prejudice. It has always seemed to me quite wrong that people should become targets of prejudice or discrimination on account of their private sexual behaviour.

After all, it is the essence of a liberal ­society that people can behave as they wish in private — so long as others are not hurt by it.

The key word, however, is ‘private’. And the problem with the gay agenda, it has always seemed to me, is that it has sought instead to commandeer the public sphere by ­dictating a profound change in the moral norms of our society — indeed, to destroy the very idea of moral norms at all.

It is this view that has produced the ­foaming hysteria. ‘How dare you say we are trying to destroy the idea that hetero­sexuality is normal — of course, gays are just as normal,’ goes the cry.

But, of course, once again they are merely making my point for me. What they also fail to acknowledge is that I have exactly the same concern about other aspects of ‘victim culture’, such as family lifestyle choices, multiculturalism or ­militant feminism.

Whether it is dealing with lone ­parents, women or gays, ‘victim culture’ holds that all these groups are entitled to exactly the same outcomes in life — ­children, promotion, equal pay or marriage benefits — as ­anyone else, regardless of the fact that their circumstances may be very different.

Because this thinking starts from the premise that such groups are the victims of those with power — whether these are men or heterosexuals — their ­members are therefore deemed to do no wrong, while the so-called ‘victimisers’ can do no right.

By definition, therefore, victim ­culture and the ‘rights agenda’ that fuels it turns truth and lies, victim and aggressor, fairness and injustice upside down.

To oppose the gay rights agenda no more means that one is anti-gay than to oppose multicuturalism or extreme ­feminism means one is anti-black or anti-woman.

What really alarms me, and the reason why I bang on about the dangers of these ­different rights agendas, is that they are eroding the bedrock values that underpin our free, tolerant and liberal society.

By overturning moral norms and hijacking language in this way, they are hollowing out our culture. More frightening still, as has been so graphically demonstrated by the reaction to my article, they are also rendering people increasingly incapable of rational thought.

And that makes our society intensely ­vulnerable to the radical Islamists whose inroads, for very similar reasons, we are also not allowed to discuss without being tarred and feathered as ‘Islamophobes’.

But here’s the really awful irony in all this. Gay people are dreadfully persecuted under fundamentalist Islam, which dictates that they should be killed.

Arguably more than any other British ­journalist, I have repeatedly warned against the lethal threat that ­radical Islam poses to the life and liberty of gay people, among many others.

The tragic fact is that, through their undermining of the moral codes of Western society, the gay lobby is making it more likely that this society will not have the wherewithal to defend itself against ­Islamisation — and if that becomes the case, the likes of Hari and the Twitter mob would finally understand what true anti-gay bigotry looks like.

Gratifyingly, I also received in the past week many messages of support. Clearly, there remain millions of tolerant folk who have not severed their links with reality — and who are sickened by having their fair-mindedness thrown in their own faces as ‘bigotry’.

Well, I have news for the bullies of the ­victim culture. Their attempts to silence those who defend truth, justice and decency will not succeed.

The more they attempt to do so, the more they open everyone else’s eyes to what they actually are — the West’s new cultural totalitarians.

http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=793

Family group calls for AG's opinion, bill to limit benefits only to married state employees

Family group calls for AG’s opinion, bill to
limit benefits only to married state employees

Schuette’s legislation from 1998 cited as model
in message to governor, legislative leadership

LANSING, Mich. — In the face of an impending $1.8 billion deficit in the state budget, a statewide family values urged Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders to act to protect taxpayers from being forced to fund yet another multi-million dollar expansion of employment benefits for government employees, the most recent driven by what the group called “an ideological fixation, no matter how much it costs, on forcing taxpayers to subsidize homosexual relationships that many taxpayers consider immoral characterized by behavior that threatens personal and public health.”

Gary Glenn, Midland, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said in a statement sent to Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger that “when our state is already drowning in red ink, forcing taxpayers to fund new benefits for any new group of beneficiaries — especially one at severely elevated risk of substance abuse and expensive life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and hepatitis — is all the more unthinkable and will further increase both the state budget deficit and the cost of health care for everyone.”

He pointed to a national homosexual activist group’s embarrassing experience with the cost of its own same-sex benefits plan. According to the Washington Blade, a “gay” advocacy newspaper in the nation’s capital, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force — which is critical of employers who cite cost in refusing to offer same-sex benefits — was forced in 2003 to cut back its own same-sex benefits plan, calling it “prohibitively expensive” and unsustainable. http://www.cnsnews.com/node/5503

“When the NGLTF’s unionized staff threatened to go public with a dispute over domestic partner benefits,” the Blade reported, “(executive director Lorri) Jean called for dropping a longstanding NGLTF policy of paying 100 percent of the health insurance premium for staff members’ domestic partners, saying the benefit was prohibitively expensive…(and)…a 100 percent benefit plan for domestic partners could not be sustained, Jean said, at a time when the group had a $500,000 debt.” (Washington Blade, March 7, 2003)

Glenn, one of two co-authors of the Marriage Protection Amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004, said in the statement to Snyder and legislative leaders that because of the scientifically proven social, financial, and health benefits of marriage between a man and a woman, the state should statutorily restrict state employment benefits exclusively to married employees as an incentive.

“Every study ever done proves that traditional marriage results in increased health and financial security for both men and women, and that their children are healthier, do better in school, and are less likely as teens to use drugs, get pregnant, or commit juvenile crime, all of which reduces the cost to taxpayers for law enforcement, social welfare, and other government programs,” Glenn said.

“Getting married is also the single biggest factor in avoiding or escaping poverty,” Glenn said, citing a study published five months ago by the Heritage Foundation which found that in Michigan, children of single mothers are more than six times more likely to live in poverty than children of married parents. http://www.heritage.org/Multimedia/InfoGraphic/2010/Marriage-Poverty-Charts/Marriage-and-Poverty-in-Michigan)

“Rather than force taxpayers to subsidize unmarried relationships, Michigan should as a matter of fiscal policy alone reduce the size and expense of government by doing everything possible to encourage and incentivize traditional marriage,” he said. “That includes saving money by restricting tax-funded employment benefits exclusively to state employees who are married, specifically to reward and encourage employees to get married and stay married.”

“More marriage means less government, less government spending, and less of a burden on taxpayers,” he said.Glenn in his message to Snyder and legislative leaders specifically urged the following steps:

* Formally request that Attorney General Bill Schuette issue an official opinion — which has the force of law unless overturned in court — on whether the state Civil Service Commission’s approval this month of tax-funded spousal-type benefits for the unmarried cohabitants of state employees violates the Marriage Protection Amendment. A pre-election poll by the Detroit Free Press in 2004 found that a larger percentage of the state’s population opposed tax-financed same-sex benefits for government employees than supported the amendment itself, which ended up passing with nearly 60 percent of the vote. (“Gay marriage ban headed for passage,” Detroit Free Press, Oct. 2, 2004)

Glenn said that by drawing the eligibility requirements for such benefits so narrowly — their express purpose being to cover the homosexual partners of state employees, advocates of the policy said, while excluding family members such as parents and siblings — the commission’s plan may have granted legal recognition of unmarried homosexual and heterosexual relationships as being “similar to” marriage, a step the state Supreme Court ruled in 2008 is prohibited by the amendment. Attesting to its agreement with Glenn’s views as a co-author as to the amendment’s intent, the court quoted or cited AFA-Michigan’s legal brief on the issue three times in its decision in Pride at Work (AFL-CIO) v. Granholm.

“As we made clear in public statements as far back as the ballot campaign for the amendment in 2004, we believe an unrestricted benefits policy that allows a state employee to cover anyone he chooses, including family members such as parents, siblings, or grandparents, probably would be constitutional since it obviously would not be based on treating the employee’s relationship as similar to a marriage,” he said. “But that’s not what the Civil Service Commission did.”

But there’s a big distinction between the question of constitutionality and whether such a plan is good public policy, Glenn said. AFA-Michigan would oppose such an unrestricted plan, even if constitutional, because it would increase the tax burden on Michigan families even more than the Civil Service Commission’s plan. Attorneys for the University of Michigan agreed in the Pride at Work case, arguing in court that because of the cost, the university should not be compelled to broadly offer benefits to any individual an employee chooses in order to be allowed to continue covering employees’ homosexual partners.

* Even if Schuette rules the Civil Service Commission plan is allowed under the Marriage Protection Amendment, that doesn’t mean the state constitution requires such benefits be offered, Glenn said. Ideally, the state should instead enact legislation such as that Schuette himself introduced over a decade ago as a member of the state Senate, restricting taxpayer-financed state employment benefits only to the spouses of married employees, with the obvious effect of statutorily prohibiting the commission’s unmarried partner benefits plan in future collective bargaining agreements with state employees. Schuette’s legislation passed the Senate in 1998 but was not brought up for consideration by the House.

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ugn1xznd4dfojr451snwnoik))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=1997-SB-0757&query=on

Metro Times, a Detroit newsweekly, reported in 1999: “State Sen. Bill Schuette, R-Midland, is pushing legislation prohibiting employees of state-funded entities from receiving domestic partner benefits. That legislation evolved from an earlier Schuette effort to target the extension of such benefits at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and other institutions. The attorney general ruled that public colleges and universities could be barred from extending the benefits only if there was a law against it for all employees of entities receiving state funds. …Ginotti says the senator wants to stop the use of taxes to support benefits for unmarried partners because their bond isn’t legally recognized.” http://www2.metrotimes.com/news/story.asp?id=10989

The Post newspaper at Ohio University reported in 1997: “When Michigan State University became the third Michigan university in September — preceded by Wayne State University and the University of Michigan — to grant such benefits, backlash arose from a state senator. Although the decision was supported by the MSU Board of Trustees after more than two years of research and debate, state Sen. Bill Schuette, R-Midland, created a plan to penalize universities for funding benefits to partners of gay and lesbian faculty and staff by not permitting them to use state money to pay for the benefits, according to the MSU State News. Phil Ginotte, Schuette’s spokesman, said the trustees made an unwise decision — ‘a mistake’ that will ‘resonate through the state,’ according to the Sept. 15 issue of the MSU State News.” (Oct. 27, 1997) http://www.thepost.ohiou.edu/archives/102797/partners.html

Glenn also dismissed arguments by homosexual activist groups and their political allies that the state must subsidize the homosexual and other unmarried partners of state employees in order to be competitive in hiring.

“Homosexual behavior is not a requirement or indicator of being among the best and brightest. The severe public health consequences alone prove that engaging in such behavior is neither the best or brightest decision, and taxpayers certainly shouldn’t be forced to pay for the medical consequences of such behavior.”

ONLY ONE MOMMY — The problem with modern anti-bullying laws

From Liberty Counsel attorney Rena M. Lindevaldsen’s new blog, Only One Mommy:

http://www.onlyonemommy.com/?p=16

The problem with modern anti-bullying laws

A few days ago NJ Gov. Chris Christie signed into law the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, which many are heralding as the toughest anti-bullying law in the nation. Having lived through my middle and high school years, I am absolutely a proponent of strong anti-harassment policies. However, I am just as vehemently opposed to the modern anti-bullying laws that serve as a tool to indoctrinate our youth with the message that identifying as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning) is healthy and normal.

When I went to school everyone knew that it was wrong to harass other students. We didn’t have a list of prohibited categories or categories that deserved special attention – all harassment and bullying was wrong. Modern anti-bullying laws, however, contain lists of characteristics for which we should not bully or harass. Granted, the lists state that they are not meant to be exhaustive but still, there are reasons behind the decision of who “makes the cut” to get onto the list.

For example, NJ’s law prohibits “harassment, intimidation or bullying” that is “reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory handicap disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic . . . .”

Even a quick read reminds me of the childhood game – which of these are not like the others.

Most are things you cannot change: race, color, ancestry, national origin, or some sort of handicap disability. While a person can change her religion, it’s a category that is specifically protected by the first amendment to the constitution and thus earns its rightful place in the list.

That leaves “gender,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity and expression.” Most of us would agree that gender cannot be changed, although there is a growing movement that believes gender can change through use of hormones and drastic, costly surgeries (a topic I’ll save for another day). Thus, I’m putting gender in the group of characteristics that cannot change.

Now we are left with “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression.” Let me briefly share three reasons why those categories should not be included in anti-bullying laws. Again, I do not believe anyone should be bullied or harassed. My issue is with the agenda-driven decision to place “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” in the laws.

First, the terms are a moving target. Even homosexual publications that discuss the issue admit that one’s sexual orientation and gender identity are “fluid” and exist on a “continuum.” They also readily admit that there is no “gay gene” – in other words, you aren’t born that way. That makes their inclusion in the anti-bullying laws out of place.

Second, the modern bullying laws are used by leading homosexual activist organizations (e.g., GLSEN, LAMBDA Legal, PFLAG), the NEA (National Education Association), and Planned Parenthood to mandate tolerance and diversity training in schools. The training includes the message that people are born gay, cannot change, and that it’s perfectly healthy and normal to engage in same-sex sexual activity. The problems with that are at least twofold: first, it’s not true – you are not born gay and you can change your sexual preferences; second, it’s not healthy to engage in same-sex sexual activities.

Third, the NJ act defines harassment and bullying to include conduct that interferes with the rights of other students and that “a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student.” For those with religious beliefs that any sexual conduct outside the man-woman marriage relationship is sinful, this one is meant to silence you. I have two quick examples to make my point. In the recent Prop 8 decision (federal court decision declaring California’s marriage laws unconstitutional), the judge found as a matter of fact that: “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” Perry v. Schwarzenegger (C.D. Cal. 2010) (Finding of Fact No. 77).

The Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation similarly stated that “prejudices directed at individuals because of their religious beliefs and prejudices derived from or justified by religion are harmful to individuals, society, and international relations.” (p. 19).

In other words, God’s standard for human sexuality is harmful. It’s not hard to imagine that a student who seeks to share God’s message of Truth and hope with someone struggling with same-sex attractions will find himself subject to punishment under NJ’s recent law.
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DETROIT FREE PRESS — Dad and others keep up fight for anti-bullyingbill

DETROIT FREE PRESS
Detroit, Michigan
January 3, 2010

Dad and others keep up fight for anti-bullying bill
Lawmakers may see new one this month

by Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki, Free Press Education Writer

“Backers say the (anti-bullying) bill isn’t gaining traction because some opponents, including the conservative American Family Association of Michigan and its president, Gary Glenn, say it promotes an agenda pushing gay rights by creating a special protection for gays and lesbians. Glenn said he opposes language that defines characteristics that can be the object of bullying, such as race, religion, weight and sexual orientation. Defining sexual orientation as a protected characteristic would open the door for gay and lesbian rights, Glenn said. ‘The Iowa Supreme Court declared homosexual marriage a constitutional right, and specifically cited the Iowa Legislature’s passage of a bullying bill that included sexual orientation as a category,’ Glenn said. Glenn said the Michigan anti-bullying bill would have passed five years ago without that language.”

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110103/NEWS05/101030322/1320/Fight-for-anti-bullying-bill-ongoing&template=fullarticle
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LANSING STATE JOURNAL — East Lansing set to offer same-sex benefits

“Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, a backer of the (Marriage Protection Amendment), disagrees. ‘Just because (the plan) may not violate the constitution doesn’t mean it’s good public policy,’ he said. ‘Even in the best of times, taxpayers should not be compelled to subsidize homosexual relationships that many people consider immoral. At a time when local governments are facing a $1.6 billion deficit, forcing taxpayers to subsidize new groups of beneficiaries — and especially a group whose choice of sexual behavior is fraught with a dramatically higher incidence of health hazards including serious life-threatening disease — will only further increase the cost of health care for all citizens.'”

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LANSING STATE JOURNAL
Lansing, Michigan
December 27, 2010

East Lansing set to offer same-sex benefits
City avoids Proposal 2 through method used by MSU, county

by Derek Melot

By next July, the city of East Lansing plans to extend health insurance and other benefits to same-sex partners of city employees, despite the legal restrictions of 2004’s Proposal 2, a state constitutional amendment that barred public recognition of same-sex relationships.

East Lansing will do it by adopting a so-called “Other Eligible Individual” method of designating employee benefits. Already in place at Michigan State University and Ingham County, this method allows qualified employees, principally members of same-sex couples, to designate another adult in the household for benefit coverage.

Proposal 2 defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but also has been determined to bar the extension of benefits to same-sex couples if, by doing so, a same-sex relationship is treated as equal or similar to a marriage. The Michigan Supreme Court turned away a challenge to that interpretation in 2008.

“Our proposed plan … was reviewed by the city’s labor attorney for compliance with all state and federal law,” said Deputy City Manager George Lahanas by e-mail.

Lahanas said city staff had fielded requests from East Lansing employees and members of the City Council to draft up the option. The city’s goal is to implement the expansion on July 1, 2011.

Of the city’s approximately 300 employees, only about 1 percent – three people – are expected to request the new coverage, Lahanas explained. The city estimates an annual cost of $20,000 or less.

“This is a policy change I’ve been working with the city staff on since 2008,” City Councilman Nathan Triplett said. “I’m glad to see that we are finally able to move forward with it. … Residents I talk to are shocked that East Lansing does not already offer this type of benefit to our employees. Simply put, it’s a matter of fundamental fairness and equal pay for equal work.”

MSU began a pilot benefits project in 2007 and made it part of the regular benefits package in July.

The university says 93 people, including dependents, opted for coverage at that time at a cost of $372,000.

Ingham County’s policy dates back to August 2008. Four or five of the county’s 1,000 employees are making use of it, said Jill Rhode, financial services director.

The city of Lansing does not offer an OEI or similar policy, reports the city’s Human Resources Department.

Argument ‘solid’

“East Lansing has already made great strides by acknowledging that Other Eligible Individual programs are necessary to a healthy community,” said Emily Dievendorf of the advocacy group Equality Michigan. “There will always be individuals who are bent on blocking progress. East Lansing should anticipate the possibility of a challenge.

“The argument for the policy’s validity is solid and, as it has been tested before, the community should feel confident that it could win the battle if one arises and Equality Michigan will support their effort 100 percent of the way,” Dievendorf added in a statement released last week.

New tax burden

Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, a backer of the original Proposal 2, disagrees.

“Just because (the plan) may not violate the constitution doesn’t mean it’s good public policy,” he said. “Even in the best of times, taxpayers should not be compelled to subsidize homosexual relationships that many people consider immoral.

“At a time when local governments are facing a $1.6 billion deficit, forcing taxpayers to subsidize new groups of beneficiaries – and especially a group whose choice of sexual behavior is fraught with a dramatically higher incidence of health hazards including serious life-threatening disease – will only further increase the cost of health care for all citizens.”

Earlier in December, the state Civil Service Commission delayed action on a staff proposal for an OEI-style benefit policy for state employees that would, by one estimate, cost almost $6 million in 2011.

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20101227/NEWS01/12270316/East-Lansing-set-to-offer-same-sex-benefits
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DETROIT NEWS — Battling for a bully bill

DETROIT NEWS
Detroit, Michigan
December 9, 2010

Battling for a bully bill

Anti-bullying bill advocates say law would save lives

by Ingrid Jacques

…”Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, objects to any anti-bullying legislation that emphasizes protecting certain students over others and focuses on characteristics such as sexual orientation. He said he would support ‘a bullying bill that simply protects all students from all bullying’ but that ‘any attempt to make homosexual behavior or cross-dressing an express source of protection’ is out of line. A few bills in the Senate listed specific characteristics, but even the House bill which defined bullying in part as ‘reasonably perceived to be motivated by animus or by an actual or perceived characteristic’ went too far in Glenn’s opinion. Given difficulties passing the bill in a Republican-lead Senate, it seems it will be more challenging to move such legislation through the Legislature next session as both House and Senate will be under Republican control.”

http://detnews.com/article/20101209/OPINION01/12090332/1008/Editorial–Benefits-ploy/Battling-for-a-bully-bill
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DAILY PRESS & ARGUS — Howell schools: Teacher ignited controversial exchange

Dear AFA-Michigan supporter,

“Bullying students because their beliefs differed from his own.”

Please call and/or e-mail the Howell School Board and thank them for not tolerating the bullying behavior reported below by a teacher’s union official who obviously believes it’s his “right” to use class time to promote homosexual activists’ political agenda and trample the Constitutional free speech rights of any student who dares disagree.

Howell School Board
Phone: 517-548-6200
E-mail addresses:
drickd@howellschools.com
; routta@howellschools.com; literske@howellschools.com; yenshawm@howellschools.com; dayw@howellschools.com; REParker@Parker-and-Parker.com; moloneym@howellschools.com

The board is being bombarded with e-mails and calls from homosexual activist groups nationwide, demanding that the school district make a “hero” out of this bully rather than punish him. Please contact school board members today and urge them to protect the civil rights of all students by standing firm.

Thank you,
Glenn's signature
Gary Glenn
AFA-Michigan

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“Howell school officials said Wednesday students who witnessed the controversial Oct. 20 exchange between Howell High School teacher Jay McDowell and two students he kicked out of class say McDowell called them ‘racist,’ was irate, slammed doors, yelled and discussed their discipline in front of the other students. They say he continued to give his opinion while telling students to keep their opinions to themselves. And, according to district officials, he provoked the incident by asking the student if he accepted gays. When the student answered, ‘No, it’s against my religion,’ McDowell threw him out of class.

…The students, in their statements, allege McDowell told Glowacki, who said he didn’t accept the gay lifestyle because of his Catholic beliefs, that he should be in a Catholic school. …The statements go on to allege McDowell told the students in his class to keep their opinions to themselves. When students asked McDowell, ‘What about free speech?’ McDowell allegedly replied, ‘Not in my classroom,’ according to the statements. Students go on to allege McDowell continued to give his opinion, wouldn’t accept those of his students, and got ‘defensive’ and ‘irate’ when opposing opinions were offered by students. Students went on to tell the district they thought the day was wasted, adding they should have been learning economics instead of discussing personal beliefs.

…The district determined McDowell himself created an atmosphere where homosexuality would be discussed by wearing a shirt meant to highlight a gay student’s suicide. …’Jay McDowell himself bullied students who offered an opinion different than his own,’ (Howell Superintendent Ron) Wilson said. …'(McDowell) was suspended for his own inappropriate actions — for bullying students because their beliefs differed from his own.’”

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DAILY PRESS & ARGUS
Howell, Michigan
November 18, 2010

Howell schools: Teacher ignited controversial exchange
By Jason Carmel Davis, Daily Press & Argus

Howell school officials said Wednesday students who witnessed the controversial Oct. 20 exchange between Howell High School teacher Jay McDowell and two students he kicked out of class say McDowell called them “racist,” was irate, slammed doors, yelled and discussed their discipline in front of the other students.
They say he continued to give his opinion while telling students to keep their opinions to themselves.

And, according to district officials, he provoked the incident by asking the student if he accepted gays. When the student answered, “No, it’s against my religion,” McDowell threw him out of class.

McDowell denied the allegations Wednesday morning.

“The teacher made a bad call. Kids asking questions isn’t a reason to kick them out of class,” Howell Public Schools Board of Education President Debi Drick concluded.

School officials on Wednesday morning gave the Daily Press & Argus a summary of witness statements taken the day after the Oct. 20 incident involving McDowell and 16-year-old student Daniel Glowacki in an economics class. The statements were part of the investigation that led to McDowell being suspended a day without pay.

In the statements, taken from about 12 of the 29 students in McDowell’s sixth-hour economics class, students allege that once McDowell removed Glowacki and another student from the class, the teacher went into the hallway and yelled at the two students.

At least one of the witnesses stated McDowell called the two students racists.
McDowell on Wednesday morning called those claims “ridiculous.” He declined to comment further at this time.

“The story has been told, not just locally, but on a national level,” Drick said. “The story that’s been told isn’t complete. The written statements contradict the story that’s been told.”

“At this point, we feel compelled to respond with the facts as they have been presented to administration,” Howell Superintendent Ron Wilson said. “With many other serious issues before us, it is time for this debate to end.”

Drick and Wilson on Wednesday discussed McDowell’s recent appearances on MSNBC and Detroit’s WDIV-TV Channel 4.

Wilson said the district has upheld the decision to suspend McDowell.

“(McDowell) is not helping the district by going on TV talking about this issue,” Wilson said. “I’ve even gotten calls from California from people saying we should reverse our decision. I’m the CEO of the largest corporation in Livingston County. I don’t have the authority to deviate from board policy. This has really put (the district) in a bad light.”

McDowell, who has taught in the district nine years, filed a grievance over the suspension and is discussing the matter with legal counsel.

A hearing will take place early next week that will be moderated by Deputy Superintendent Lynn Parrish, Wilson said. The district, Wilson said, will have 10 days after that to respond.

“During one of the earlier meetings with Mr. McDowell regarding the disciplinary action, he threatened to bring a media frenzy upon the schools if the district’s decision was not reversed,” Wilson said. “He and his supporters have succeeded in painting our schools as having bigoted, racist and homophobic students, and the media has served as an unwitting partner. What started out as a disagreement over the expression of one’s beliefs has degraded into an unhealthy series of diatribes that paint our schools as dangerous places to work and learn.”

Drick and Wilson said they believe McDowell, who is president of the Howell Education Association teachers’ union, has presented a distorted version of the events on Oct. 20, a national Spirit Day promoting anti-bullying, when McDowell and Glowacki argued about another student wearing a belt buckle featuring the Confederate flag. McDowell asked that student to remove the belt buckle, and she did.

McDowell, in a statement he released Nov. 1, said he is not opposed to any student’s beliefs and that he disciplined the students for inappropriate speech and disruption to class.

The students, in their statements, allege McDowell told Glowacki, who said he didn’t accept the gay lifestyle because of his Catholic beliefs, that he should be in a Catholic school. Students also stated that McDowell called Assistant Principal Jennifer Goodwin, in front of the class, and told her he didn’t want the two students back in his class.

The statements go on to allege McDowell told the students in his class to keep their opinions to themselves. When students asked McDowell, “what about free speech?” McDowell allegedly replied, “not in my classroom,” according to the statements.

Students go on to allege McDowell continued to give his opinion, wouldn’t accept those of his students, and got “defensive” and “irate” when opposing opinions were offered by students. Students went on to tell the district they thought the day was wasted, adding they should have been learning economics instead of discussing personal beliefs.

Drick said there were statements from “a couple students” defending McDowell. She added the district took common statements, though. She added that, through the statements, officials found there was no bullying done by Glowacki.

“There is a common thread throughout the witness statements,” Wilson said Wednesday. “Based on the … statements, administration determined that Jay McDowell acted inappropriately in response to a question that was not bullying in nature. The entire day’s atmosphere created an environment ripe for such questions to be asked.”

The district determined McDowell himself created an atmosphere where homosexuality would be discussed by wearing a shirt meant to highlight a gay student’s suicide. The district also determined McDowell created a disturbance by instructing a student to remove a belt buckle, thereby denying the student her First Amendment rights.

“Jay McDowell himself bullied students who offered an opinion different than his own,” Wilson said. “The belt buckle was not the cause of the disturbance, nor did it bully anyone. No student complained about the buckle, and board policy clearly states that unless an object causes a disturbance, the object should be left alone.

“Additionally, Jay McDowell had numerous opportunities to resolve the situation amicably, but, instead chose to act in a manner that escalated the situation.”

Based on those statements, the district investigation determined Glowacki had not engaged in either bullying behavior nor hate speech. Therefore, McDowell, Wilson said, should not have kicked Glowacki out of class.

Additionally, Wilson said, McDowell should not have engaged in behavior that included yelling, slamming doors, name-calling and discussing potential discipline in front of other students.

This is the first incident McDowell had been involved in, Wilson said, so the district felt the one-day suspension was fair.

“If the statements and determination say the student wasn’t bullying anybody, why kick him out of class?” Drick said.

“My fear is, I don’t want some kid somewhere to do something stupid because something happens to them in class and they don’t think the district will stand up for them,” she said.

“(McDowell’s) actions were not congruent with board policy, nor with state and federal,” according to the district’s determination. “(McDowell) was suspended for his own inappropriate actions — for bullying students because their beliefs differed from his own.”

McDowell’s suspension came after district officials took statements from the students and conducted the investigation resulting from a complaint filed by a parent.

Glowacki and his mother, Sandy Glowacki, also met with district officials after the incident. She said she had a productive meeting with McDowell and considered the issue over. She said she wasn’t aware of McDowell’s suspension until it had been finalized.

She added she may seek legal counsel based on things that have been said about her son online.

Daniel Glowacki, who has since been moved to another economics class, last month told the Daily Press & Argus he’s not a bigot and that he doesn’t want people to believe he’s against gays.

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To read Superintendent Ron Wilson’s statement on the situation, click here.

http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20101118/NEWS01/101118001/Howell-schools-Teacher-ignited-controversial-exchange-with-document-__________________________________________________

HOLLAND SENTINEL — Is Holland ready? City commission tackles gay rights ordinance tonight

“American Family Association of Michigan President Gary Glenn said the (proposed homosexual and cross-dressing ‘rights’ ordinance) was ‘radically out of step with the values of the people of Holland.’ He said 64 percent of voters in the Holland area had voted to approve the Marriage Protection Amendment in 2004, and that an anti-discrimination ordinance could be easily overturned by a public referendum.”

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HOLLAND SENTINEL
Holland, Michigan
October 21, 2010

Is Holland ready? City commission
tackles Gay Rights Ordinance tonight

By Peter Daining and Stephen Kloosterman

HOLLAND, Mi. — Dustin Lance Black has his fingers crossed.

The Academy Award-winning screenwriter has his eye on Holland this week, with city officials revisiting the idea of an anti-discrimination ordinance that would protect gay residents from housing or job discrimination.

It’s a particularly poignant topic, Black says, considering the high number of gay teens who have committed suicide in recent months.

“I’m very happy to hear Holland is having those conversations,” Black said. “It’s become clear that people listen to the messages of their communities, which way too often are saying gay and lesbian people are somehow second class or not worthy of protection.”

Holland’s Human Relations Commission tackles the thorny issue at 6 p.m. today at City Hall. It’s unclear yet if the panel will vote on whether to add protections for residents based on their sexual orientation; they have been studying the issue during the summer.

“I couldn’t say for sure whether it will be tomorrow or next month,” said Community/Human Relations coordinator Al Serrano. “But it’s probably somewhere in that time period.”

One Holland gay business owner, who asked to remain anonymous, has first-hand experience with gay discrimination in Holland — while buying a home.

He, and his partner, were packing to move to Holland to care for an ill family member; the moving van was booked, the closing date set. Just three days away from the closing date, they hit a bump in the road.

The condominium board did not want to grant permission for them to move in. The problem? The couple’s sexual orientation. The partners flew in to meet with the board.

“You’re saying we can’t live here because you don’t like gays?” he recalled saying. “Why can’t you just live somewhere else?” the condo board member replied.

The couple’s lawyer explained it is perfectly legal in Holland to deny housing to gay couples.

“Everyone I’ve told has been rather shocked to discover it’s completely legal to deny a person a home based on homosexuality,” he said. “I think it’s extremely important that this last bastion of civil rights be forged.”

Interfaith Congregation Chaplain Bill Freeman asked Holland City Council to consider an anti-discrimination ordinance this summer to guard against housing, education, job and other discriminations based on sexual orientation.

“This isn’t a question about what’s in the Bible, this is a question about what’s in the Constitution, and the Constitution talks about equal rights for all — and that’s what we’re talking about.”

American Family Association of Michigan President Gary Glenn said the suggestion was “radically out of step with the values of the people of Holland.” He said 64 percent of voters in the Holland area had voted to approve the Marriage Protection Amendment in 2004, and that an anti-discrimination ordinance could be easily overturned by a public referendum.

Since this summer, the Human Relations Committee has been gathering information and having discussions in order to decide on a recommendation to City Council. Freeman is optimistic about today’s meeting.

“This could be one of the big steps,” Freeman said.

Gay rights became a hot button issue in Holland when Hope College banned filmmaker Black from hosting a discussion of his Academy Award-winning film at a campus sexuality forum last fall.

Eventually, Hope is Ready hosted Black off-campus at the Park Theatre for a discussion and screening of his film, “Milk,” a biopic of Harvey Milk, the first gay politician elected to public office in the U.S.

“Some people don’t understand why it’s important,” Black said. “It’s so that gay and lesbian people — and there are plenty of gay and lesbian people in Holland. I met many of them — can feel free to live authentically as who they are with their self esteems intact.”
http://www.hollandsentinel.com/feature/x2030533328/Is-Holland-ready-City-Council-tackles-Gay-Rights-Ordinance-tonight
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GRAND RAPIDS PRESS — How conservative Holland became latest battleground for gay rights

Please stand with AFA-Michigan today as we prepare to help Christians in Holland (and other cities) protect their community from the discriminatory effects of a homosexual/cross-dressing “rights” ordinance.

Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution via credit card online:
https://www.campaigncontribution.com/version6/process/info.asp?id=1700&jid=

Or mail your contribution to PO Box 1904, Midland, Michigan 48641.

Thanks as always for your support!
Glenn's signature
Gary Glenn, President
American Family Association of Michigan

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“Traditional institutions in (Holland) are pushing back, with some warning of a slippery slope to moral relativism. ‘I think it (the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance) will lead to other things,’ said the Rev. Ralph Houston of Immanuel Reformed Church In Fennville. ‘It adds some respectability to (homosexual behavior.)’

In Houston’s view, the best authority on the issue can be found in the Bible, in verses in Leviticus and Romans that condemn homosexuality. ‘If the Bible is true, then we better stick to what the Bible says about homosexuality,’ Houston said. Nonetheless, Houston asserted that Holland needs no gay rights ordinance because he sees no evidence of discrimination.”

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GRAND RAPIDS PRESS
Grand Rapids, Michigan
October 20, 2010

How conservative Holland became
latest battleground for gay rights

by Ted Roelofs | The Grand Rapids Press

HOLLAND — Given its conservative reputation, Holland might seem unlikely ground to launch a battle for gay rights.

A group called Holland is Ready insists this bastion of traditional values is precisely the community where such a fight must be won.
“If that is the perception of a place, it’s perhaps even more important we do this,” said the Rev. Jennifer Adams, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland.

“I believe Holland is far more diverse than communities beyond Holland have recognized.”
There are many others, some well known, invested in this cause as well. They include Jeff Padnos, president of Louis Padnos Iron & Metal in Holland. Padnos believes the time has come for this city to assure equal treatment of all.

“As we try to grow and diversity our economy, this is going to be a factor that people are looking at in terms of where they choose to be. It’s symbolic of what kind of place we want to be.
“Do we want to be inclusive or understanding or not?”

The issue bubbled to the surface across several fronts in the past year, from a proposal that Holland’s City Council adopt a gay anti-discrimination measure to a clash at Hope College over a campus appearance by Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of an Oscar-winning movie about gay activist Harvey Milk.
The former could come to ahead this week as a city panel is expected to discuss the proposal to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In July, a full-page ad in the Holland Sentinel further stirred the pot as it attacked the proposed city ordinance and what it termed the “myths” of homosexuality. The ad said it was sponsored by the Holland Township company Request Foods and the Family Research Council.
After threats of a boycott by Campbell Soup Co. — for whom Request Foods is a contractor — Request Foods distanced itself from the ad saying it was paid for by an investor “without our management team’s knowledge or permission.”

Dozens of letters to the editor and online comments at the Holland Sentinel, some civil, others not, reveal a community divided. Many were critical of the ad.
One online writer commented: “Ignorance is a sad thing. Ignorance based on faith is dangerous.”
But another warned that the annual Tulip Time parade could be one with “a Gay Rights float, but no Right to Life float. Perfect.”
While the issue simmers, 2010 Hope College graduate Emily West said it might surprise some just how many students at this college with historic ties to the Reformed Church are ready for change.

The former editor-in-chief of the student newspaper recalled a meeting she and some others called in 2009 after college officials blocked an appearance by screenwriter Black to discuss issues raised by the film “Milk.”
“Over a hundred people showed up for the meeting,” said West, 22. “I was shocked.”

In denying Black’s appearance, college officials cited a 1995 policy which says the college will “not provide recognition, financial or logistical support for groups whose purposes include the advocacy or moral legitimization of homosexual behavior.”
Officials said Black could speak to students about his craft but not gay rights.

That led to formation of the group called Hope is Ready, which West said submitted the names of 745 people, including 342 students demanding repeal of the policy. Not long after, gay rights proponents formed Holland is Ready as the cause mushroomed into a community-wide issue.
West said organizers have continued to collect the signatures of more students and Hope graduates since then.
Alumni lending support to the cause include Arend Lubbers, former president of Grand Valley State University. Lubbers is a 1953 Hope graduate and son of Irwin Lubbers, Hope’s president from 1945 to 1963.

“There should be complete inclusiveness at Hope College,” Lubbers said.
Not unexpectedly, traditional institutions in the area are pushing back, with some warning of a slippery slope to moral relativism.
“I think it (the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance) will lead to other things,” said the Rev. Ralph Houston of Immanuel Reformed Church In Fennville.

“It adds some respectability to (homosexual behavior.)”
In Houston’s view, the best authority on the issue can be found in the Bible, in verses in Leviticus and Romans that condemn homosexuality.

“If the Bible is true, then we better stick to what the Bible says about homosexuality,” Houston said.
Nonetheless, Houston asserted that Holland needs no gay rights ordinance because he sees no evidence of discrimination.

“I don’t think anyone in Holland would dare discriminate on the basis of homosexuality,” he said.
That is among the issues put to Holland’s Human Relations Commission as it weighs a proposal to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. City council members in July directed the advisory body to study the issue and return with a recommendation.

The commission is expected to discuss the matter at its Thursday meeting.
“I imagine there will be some kind of action,” said commission chairman Ralph Kickert.

Kickert declined to predict what that might be, or whether the City Council would adopt a gay rights ordinance if the commission recommends it.
Many expect the issue to be settled by referendum.

In 2009, voters in Kalamazoo rejected a referendum that would have repealed the city’s gay protection ordinance by 62 percent to 38 percent. Several other Michigan cities, including Grand Rapids, Grand Ledge, Lansing, East Lansing, Detroit and Ann Arbor have measures protecting gay residents.
Padnos President Jeff Padnos believes that in five or 10 years Holland will have resolved the issue and moved on.

“I think it’s going to be behind us. Holland is a way more diverse place than people think.
“It’s just a matter of time.”
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/10/how_conservative_holland_becam.html
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