GRAND RAPIDS PRESS — Holland votes against adding sexual orientation to anti-discrimination policies

Praise the Lord!

“Rev. Ralph Houston, Pastor of Immanuel Reformed Church in Fennville, was against putting anti-gay bias in city ordinances. ‘This is a way to get acceptance to immoral acts by approval through law,’ said Houston, who claimed studies showed homosexuality was a lifestyle choice that could be cured by treatment. …Holland resident Laura Anderson said she felt she was being discriminated against by the intent of the ordinance. ‘It takes away my rights. By its wording, this resolution gives heavier weight to gay rights over my rights and I’m offended by it,’ Anderson said.”

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GRAND RAPIDS PRESS
Grand Rapids, Michigan
June 16, 2011

Holland votes against adding sexual
orientation to anti-discrimination policies

by Myron Kukla, The Grand Rapids Press

HOLLAND — By a one-vote margin after a long and sometimes emotional meeting, Holland City Council on Wednesday vetoed adding sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination ordinances covering housing and jobs.

“I feel it was the wrong thing to do. I believe they just sent a message to the business world that Holland is not an inclusive community that welcomes diversity,” said Ken Freestone, a Holland businessman, who listened to more than five hours of comment and council discussion before the group’s 5-4 vote.

Voting against the change were Mayor Kurt Dykstra and council members Brian Burch, Nancy DeBoer, Mike Tretheway and Todd Whiteman.
In favor of the change were council members David Hoekstra, Jay Peters, Robert Vande Vusse and Shawn Miller.
DeBoer and Whiteman said they would prefer to see a city-wide vote on adding sexual orientation to the list of groups covered in the anti-discrimination ordinances.

Freestone was skeptical such a vote would ever happen. An audible sigh of resignation came from the audience when the final vote was heard. An overflow crowd of 250 crammed the City Council chambers and its hallways. More than 60 people spoke to the issue, with their allegiances fairly evenly split. “I have gay friends and always have had gay friends. They provide the spice of life. This is not a choice issue as has been suggested tonight. It’s a DNA thing,” said Second Ward Councilman Jay Peters.

Some critics of the added language claimed outside influences were pushing a “gay agenda” in Holland, while others countered that support for the proposal came from locals, business owners and “residents being discriminated against” who favored the change.

Others took a more personal view.

Jamie Coon said her sister, Coco Lam, left Holland and moved to Oregon because of discrimination she received for being a lesbian.
“She moved away to live in peace with her partner and two children,” said Coon, 19, a Holland High School graduate and Central Michigan University student. “If you approve this anti-discrimination ordinance (for sexual orientation), it won’t bring my sister back, but it may keep someone else’s sister from leaving.”

The proposal would have added sexual orientation to Holland’s fair housing ordinance and Equal Opportunity policy. They already cover discrimination based on gender, race, creed, age and disabilities.

Of those who spoke out on the issue, nearly 20 percent were area ministers. Rev. Ralph Houston, Pastor of Immanuel Reformed Church in Fennville, was against putting anti-gay bias in city ordinances. “This is a way to get acceptance to immoral acts by approval through law,” said Houston, who claimed studies showed homosexuality was a lifestyle choice that could be cured by treatment.

Other area church leaders supported the proposed change.

“Be sure you consider this as a human rights issue, not a religious issue. This is not a matter of morality,” said the Rev. Linda Knieriemen, minister of the First Presbyterian of Holland. Rev. Larry Schuyler of the Holland Classis of the Reformed Church in America said the position of the church is that “the denial of human and civil rights based on sexual identity is inconsistent with reformed theology.”

But Holland resident Laura Anderson said she felt she was being discriminated against by the intent of the ordinance. “It takes away my rights. By its wording, this resolution gives heavier weight to gay rights over my rights and I’m offended by it,” Anderson said.

Several speakers said what city council was doing was “encouraging homosexual lifestyles,” while others noted that “the resolution will not force churches to perform same-sex marriages.”

City Human Relations Coordinator Al Serrano said the Human Relations Commission studied the recommendation for a year and made the recommendation in part on a Fair Housing study found that discrimination against same-sex partners increased by nearly 30 percent in communities without discrimination ordinances.

Business owner Dean Whittaker said the council should consider what its decision will mean economically.

“We want to attract and keep diverse talent to our community and companies and a community suffers when we force people to leave,” said Whittaker.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/06/holland_votes_against_adding_s.html
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D-DAY — JUNE 6, 1944 — President Roosevelt's prayer for American troops

“To preserve our Republic,
our religion, and our
civilization…”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s prayer
broadcast nationwide on June 6, 1944, asking
the blessings of Almighty God on behalf of
American troops’ D-Day landing on the
Normandy beaches of France…

Click to listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAUDj6yQx9U


As we remember the 67th anniversary of the day
that began the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny,
the American Family Association of Michigan urges you
to join us in offering this same prayer for the men and women
who serve our country today in harm’s way — once again
fighting “to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization.”

Let us also pray that the day will soon come again, that the President of
the United States does not hesitate — in times of peace and of war, in crisis or
in thanksgiving — to publicly lead the American people in reverent and
humble prayer for God’s blessings upon our Nation and its freedom.

As President Roosevelt prayed: “Thy will be done, Almighty God.”

Glenn's signature
Gary Glenn, President
American Family Association of Michigan
www.AFAMichigan.org
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OFF THE RECORD — AFA-Michigan's Gary Glenn on Gov. Snyder and the conservative agenda

AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn is the guest this weekend on “Off the Record,” the weekly public affairs television show featuring a roundtable discussion with political reporters from the state Capitol in Lansing.

The topic: Is there a coming clash between Gov. Rick Snyder and the legislative agenda of conservative lawmakers and advocacy groups such as the American Family Association of Michigan?

Click here to watch: http://video.wkar.org/video/1966735959

Off the Record also airs on public education channels statewide — in the Lansing area on WKAR-TV Channel 23 at 11:30 pm tonight (Friday), and 12:30 pm and 11:30 pm Sunday, and in Midland, Friday at 8:30 pm on Charter Cable channel 9 and noon Sunday on channel 12. Check your local cable listings.

The topics discussed:

* Right to Work legislation, which would prohibit compulsory union membership or financial support as a condition of employment. Gary cited polls which in 2004 showed that two-thirds of union members in Michigan supported our state’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which he co-authored, when it appeared on the ballot. But those same union members, Christians and others, were forced under threat of being fired to financially support the state AFL-CIO and Michigan Education Association, which campaigned against the marriage amendment. Gary led the successful effort to make Idaho a Right to Work state a quarter-century ago. http://bit.ly/dtYzXb

* Posting our national motto “In God We Trust” in public school classrooms, such as reported here: http://bit.ly/jJa1Y6

* Anti-bullying legislation, such as reported here: http://bit.ly/jr1Ek1

* Preventing the use of public school classrooms to promote homosexual behavior and gender confusion. Gary specifically cited this Fox News report: http://bit.ly/iVrJac

To support AFA-Michigan’s stand for families and traditional family values, please make a tax-deductible contribution online by clicking here: http://bit.ly/kuE98X

Or by mail to: AFA-Michigan, PO Box 1904, Midland, MI 48641

Thanks, and may God bless and strengthen you and your family!
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MIRS — Radio ads take on governor

What are described in this article as “radio ads” are in fact just one issue of our AFA-Michigan News Minute, which is run daily, free of charge, by Christian and other radio stations across the state. The audio of this particular day’s version is attached.

“Gary Glenn says it is wrong for Christians and other employees to continue to be forced, under threat of being fired, to financially support labor unions such as the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO that support abortion on demand, the homosexual agenda, homosexual marriage, and transgender rights.”

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MIRS
Michigan Information and Research Service
Lansing, Michigan
May 31, 2011

Radio ads take on governor

Gov. Rick Snyder said the Right to Work issue is divisive and a new radio ad suggests, “it is not on his to-do list.” But the commercial goes on saying that Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan (AFAM) said “it should be.”

The ad is the first mass media effort to move the issue in the legislature despite the Governor’s stance.

The spot is sponsored by Glenn’s group and will air on radio stations in Lansing, Flint, Zeeland and Grand Rapids.

“Gary Glenn says it is wrong for Christians and other employees to continue to be forced, under threat of being fired, to financially support labor unions” such as the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO that support “abortion on demand, the homosexual agenda, homosexual marriage and transgender rights.”

The commercial points out that two-thirds of labor households in 2004 supported the so-called “Marriage Protection Amendment,” yet their union contributions were used by the labor groups to fight the amendment the workers wanted.

The radio spot concludes, “The Right to Work law would protect Christians from being told to pay up or be fired.”

Glenn, by the way, is scheduled to appear on the Off the Record broadcast — http://wkar.org/offtherecord — this week.

Listen to the Radio Ad here.
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MIRS — 15 items put on conservative to-do List

MIRS
Michigan Information and Research Service
Lansing, Michigan
May 31, 2011

15 items put on conservative to-do list

The American Family Association of Michigan (AFAM) has a wish list of 15 items that it wants the Governor and lawmakers to tackle in the coming months. The question is will Gov. Rick Snyder want to advance this agenda?

A document obtained by MIRS revealed AFAM wants the posting of “In God We Trust” in the state Capitol and every public classroom in the state. It also wants to prohibit the use of tax dollars in public schools to “promote any form of sexual activity outside of marriage.”

Gary Glenn, who heads the Michigan AFAM, describes the list as “comprehensive.” It also wants to ban “homosexual couples” from adopting children. AFAM wants to protect medical and pharmaceutical employees’ right of conscience where they do not have to “perform procedures (abortions) or dispense products (birth control) which violate the employee’s conscience.”

On the list is also a so-called “Personhood amendment” that defines a person to include a prenatal child “from the point of fertilization” and a related issue would ban any public funding of any abortion or sex change operation including inmates incarcerated in a state or county jail.

Glenn also wants to open up the battle unfolding in Washington over funding for Planned Parenthood by stopping state grants to that group or “Equality Michigan” and similar groups.

And on the arts front, the AFAM seeks to prohibit any “public nudity to expressly include the drama productions of state-funded colleges and universities.” Glenn noted a recent production of “Angels in America” produced at Saginaw Valley State University as an example of what should be banned.
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BAPTIST PRESS — "Gender identity" repeal bill goes to Tennessee governor

UPDATE: Gov. Bill Haslam signed this into law on May 23, 2011.
AFA-Michigan will be urging lawmakers in Lansing to
introduce the same legislation.

“In what apparently would be a first-in-the-nation type of law impacting religious freedom, the Tennessee legislature gave final passage May 18 to a bill revoking a Nashville ordinance that protects employees based on their homosexuality or transgender status… The Tennessee House of Representatives voted 70-26 for a Senate-approved version of the (legislation), which would prevent local governments from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances that go beyond existing state and federal law.

It also would repeal a (‘gay rights’) measure already adopted by the Nashville Metro Council. Tennessee law already prohibits employers from discriminating based on ‘race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.’ The Nashville Metro Council went further in early April, requiring businesses that contract with the city to add employment policies with protections for the categories of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity.'”

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BAPTIST PRESS
Nashville, Tennessee
May 19, 2011

“Gender identity” repeal bill goes to Tennessee governor

Southern Baptist Convention leaders urge him to sign

by Baptist Press staff
NASHVILLE (BP) — In what apparently would be a first-in-the-nation type of law impacting religious freedom, the Tennessee legislature gave final passage May 18 to a bill revoking a Nashville ordinance that protects employees based on their homosexuality or transgender status, and Southern Baptist leaders quickly appealed to Gov. Bill Haslam to sign it into law.

The Tennessee House of Representatives voted 70-26 for a Senate-approved version of the Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act, which would prevent local governments from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances that go beyond existing state and federal law. It also would repeal a measure already adopted by the Nashville Metro Council.

Tennessee law already prohibits employers from discriminating based on “race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.” The Nashville Metro Council went further in early April, requiring businesses that contract with the city to add employment policies with protections for the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

After the House vote May 18, three Southern Baptist officials encouraged Haslam in a letter to sign the legislation. The letter was from Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC); Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee; and Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Land, Page and Davis told Haslam, a Republican, the measure would protect the religious liberty of Christian business owners in the state. The legislation also will assure the uniform application of the state’s nondiscrimination laws, thereby protecting employers from having to deal with a variety of municipal policies and maintaining the General Assembly’s authority.

Without the law, the constitutional rights of Christian business owners “may be infringed by expansive local non-discrimination laws,” Land, Page and Davis said in the letter. “It is the conviction of many that elevating ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as a protective class is wrong. … There is no evidence to dictate equating homosexual behavior with immutable distinctiveness. To do so mitigates the value of inalienable rights and trivializes the effort of those who seek to protect them.”

The measure will provide a “safeguard from any further economic perplexity and prioritize Tennessee state law,” they told Haslam, who was elected in November.

“Sexual orientation” can encompass homosexuality and bisexuality, as well as transgender status. “Gender identity” is a term that “refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as male or female, which may or may not correspond to the person’s body or designated sex at birth,” according to the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest homosexual organization.

Some opponents of the Nashville ordinance say it could lead to men using women’s restrooms. The concern over restrooms is that “gender identity” in the ordinance could mean a man who inwardly identifies as a female will have legal protection to enter a women’s restroom.

The House passed the bill in late April but was required to accept an amendment added by the Senate. Senators approved their version May 12 in a 21-8 roll call. The amendment added a severability clause, which would enable the remainder of the bill to stay in effect if a court strikes down the section rescinding the Nashville ordinance.

The ERLC became engaged on the issue at the request of Davis, Land said. The ERLC mounted a multi-pronged effort, often involving Tennessee Baptist leadership, to work for passage of the bill in the legislature. The ERLC’s efforts included emails, direct mail, faxes and phone calls to the legislature; action alerts to Tennessee Baptists, and op-eds in the news media, according to the organization. Land devoted part of his national weekend radio program to the importance of passing the state law. Among actions taken by the ERLC:

— Land, Page and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, co-wrote a March column published in The Tennessean that expressed concern about the Metro Council’s proposal before it was approved.

— Land, Davis and Robert Sumrall, executive director of the Nashville Baptist Association, urged the Metro Council in an April 4 letter to defeat the proposed ordinance.

— Land and Davis endorsed the state legislation in an April 11 letter to House Commerce Committee members.

— Land called for support of the bill in an April 29 letter to the Senate’s State and Local Government Committee

— Land urged the Senate in a May 11 letter to approve the bill.

— Land and Davis urged Tennessee recipients of the ERLC’s email alerts to contact their senators about supporting the measure.

Land described the ERLC’s efforts as instrumental in giving voice to thousands of Southern Baptists in the state and thanked the Tennessee Baptist leadership for the opportunity to partner with the state convention to involve Southern Baptists in working for passage of the legislation.

David Fowler, president of the conservative group Family Action of Tennessee, has said the bill would be a “first-in-the-nation kind of law.”

Homosexual activists have endorsed the Nashville ordinance. The Tennessee Equality Project said the measure sends a message “that if you’re talented and willing to work, you’re welcome in Nashville.”

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPnews.asp?ID=35341
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MICHIGAN MESSENGER — Budget deal includes controversial non-budgetary provisions

“The Senate higher education bill includes a religious conscience clause requiring state universities with accredited counseling programs to ‘report’ on actions to protect counseling students from having to do something which might interfere with the ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ of the student. …That move comes in response to the case of Julea Ward. Ward was a graduate student in the Eastern Michigan University counseling program, but she was expelled from the program when she declined to counsel a gay student. In refusing to counsel the student she said approving of homosexuality would violate her sincerely held religious beliefs that the Bible condemned homosexuality. … Ward’s case has become a cause celebre for the religious right, especially for Gary Glenn and the American Family Association of Michigan.”

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MICHIGAN MESSENGER
Lansing, Michigan
May 20, 2011

Budget deal includes controversial non-budgetary provisions
Snyder legal counsel calls one unconstitutional

by Todd A. Heywood

http://michiganmessenger.com/49148/budget-deal-includes-controversial-non-budgetary-provisions
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ACTION ALERT — Contact Gov. Snyder and legislative leadership!

Please read the article below, then contact Gov. Snyder and legislative
leadership and tell them to keep pro-family protections in Michigan’s
higher education budget.

Gov. Rick Snyder: Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov

Senate Leader Randy Richardville: SenRichardville@senate.michigan.gov

House Speaker Jase Bolger: JaseBolger@house.mi.gov

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GONGWER NEWS
Lansing, Michigan
May 6, 2011

Universities fighting social amendments

The state’s universities are hoping to see their budget come out of conference a bit lighter than it entered, at least in verbiage.

Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, said the institutions are trying to have removed from the budgets language that penalizes those schools with domestic partner benefits for their employees. They also want struck language requiring reports on embryonic stem cell research and protecting religious rights of counseling students.

“It’s a historic cut at 15 percent,” Mr. Boulus said. “Then to couple it with extremely intrusive and questionably flawed social and religious beliefs … It’s a troublesome trend among many Republicans to micromanage universities.”

Mr. Boulus told Gongwer News on Friday that he was already working with legislative leadership to have the provisions removed from the final budget package, but he is also exploring other options.

“It’s not enforceable if we want to take it to court,” Mr. Boulus said of the boilerplate.

There was discussion overnight of seeking Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of the language. While Mr. Snyder has said he is still reviewing the language in the budgets, he has also said he does not approve of non-budgetary items in the budget bills.

But Mr. Boulus said he is being cautious about discussing the veto option both because he does not know where Mr. Snyder stands on the provisions and because he is not sure if vetoing the domestic partner benefits language would mean a cut to universities. The provision sets aside 5 percent of the funding for each university and gives that money to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System if the university has a health benefits plan that covers non-married domestic partners and their dependents.

Vetoing the provision could simply remove the instructions for how to spend that 5 percent or it could remove that 5 percent from the appropriation.

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MLIVE — Michigan House approves massive education funding cut, critics say it 'balances the budget on the backs of our children'

‎”Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, offered a successful amendment on the floor that would dock universities another 5 percent in state aid that provide medical and other benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. The practice violates the 2004 amendment that banned gay marriage, he said. “And subverts the will of the people, the rule of law and moral values.”

Salute to Rep. Agema and House Republicans! Michigan taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize homosexual relationships among state university employees.

This budget also includes a requirement, already approved by the state Senate, that universities report to the Legislature each year on steps they’ve taken to protect the religious conscience rights of Christian students. It’s intended to prevent cases such as Eastern Michigan University’s expulsion of Christian grad student Julea Ward of Southfield because she refused to counsel another student on how to improve his homosexual relationship.

Read “Lawmakers want university explanation for expulsion of Christian,” World Net Daily, at: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=144881

http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/05/michigan_house_approves_massiv.html
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MIRS — AFAM Aims At Kahn

The American Family Association of Michigan AFAM today went after Sen. Roger KAHN R-Saginaw for not backing a measure aimed at protecting counseling students who don’t want to help gay and lesbian students.

Sen. Mark Jansen (R-Gaines Twp.) won an amendment requiring universities to report on efforts to accommodate the religious beliefs of students in accredited counseling programs. This is a response to the case of Eastern Michigan University graduate student Julea Ward, who was dismissed from EMU’s counseling program for refusing to counsel a gay patient.

Kahn was the lone Republican to vote no.

“Before the full Senate votes next week, we hope families in Saginaw County will join us in urging Sen. Kahn to stand with other Republicans, including Attorney General (Bill) Schuette, in acting to eliminate religious discrimination against students who refuse to compromise their faith and right of conscience,” said AFAM head Gary Glenn.

Sen. Kahn’s contact information:
Phone: 517-373-1760
E-mail: senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov

http://www.mirsnews.com/
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