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MICHIGAN: Anti-Homophobia Art Piece Vandalized - VIDEO

Love does not harm

An art piece in Grand Rapids, Michigan that aims to raise awareness about how damaging homophobic rhetoric can be was vandalized last week, reports WOODTV.com.

The conceptual piece by Timothy Gabriel, which has since been restored, was damaged earlier this week when a passerby splattered some form of red paint or ink across the surface of the 8-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide installation.

The organizers of the event say that the work “depicts an androgynous silhouette, symbolizing the LGBT community, smeared with spiteful words on a cross of hateful quotes...The primary purpose of this piece is to raise awareness of the impact homophobic rhetoric has on the LGBT communities in Uganda, Russia, and around the globe. In many parts of the world, these minorities are oppressed, maimed, stoned, tortured, imprisoned for life, and executed. ‘Love Does Not Harm’ seeks to draw attention to the specific role many American Evangelicals play in this very real persecution.”

Explaining that he had allowed for a space on the back of the piece for feedback from locals, Gabriel said although most of the response has been positive, “it’s a shame that someone had to tarnish the front of it the way that they did.

He added:

"We were able to scrub most of it off the yellow section. But any attempt to move anything off the white left a stain or a residue. But it hasn't obstructed or destroyed it."

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Check Out This Michigan Candidate's Awesome Response to Anti-gay Bigotry: READ

Josh derke 2

Josh Derke, a Democratic candidate for state representative from Michigan's 93rd House District, has made public an awesome pro-LGBT letter he sent to anti-gay listed hate group Public Advocate of the United States (PAUC) having received a survey from the group, reports The Advocate.

Derke says that when he received the "2014 Michigan Family Values Survey" - which he refers to as “a pile of excrement” - from the Michigan-based PAUC, his jaw dropped.

The survey demanded that candidates "pledge to refuse any donation from the Homosexual Lobby or their allies — especially from Tim Gill or Paul Singer” or face being accused of supporting the “Anti-Family Agenda."

Writing on his blog, Derke said:

"I have received some pretty outrageous letters and surveys before, but I just couldn’t be silent about this. I chose not to participate in their survey. I couldn’t. … I elected instead to send a letter. Their survey was hurtful; I have family, and many friends, that are LGBT. They’re not immoral, and they’re not seeking special privileges."

Derke's letter, directed to PAUC’s Eugene Delgaudio - who was recently censured by the Republican party for misuse of county funds - is one of the best and most entertaining replies to anti-gay bigots that are likely ever to read.

PhotoLast year, Delgaudio's group was sued for stealing a New Jersey couple's wedding photo  for use in an anti-gay political mailing [pictured right].

Apologizing to Delgaudio for his lack of support of the homophobic agenda, Derke says that the gays have “already dug their fabulously manicured claws into me, and I am afraid to report that I have been brainwashed into mindless support of the Homosexual Agenda.”

Worth quoting at length, the letter makes clear to the hate group that the “homosexual agenda” is “a phantom of your own creation":

“Would that it were that your erudite survey had reached my desk earlier, ere I succumbed to their influence, my mind might yet be unshackled from the horrible idea that all people deserve equal treatment and dignity.

“Let me tell you what pro-family is, Eugene. Pro-family is standing by your gay brother for merely being who he is. Pro-family is accepting your cousins, your friends, and homosexual parents across the globe for who they are. It is recognizing that all credible studies that have explored the issue of gay and lesbian parents have shown that they raise well-adjusted children who are just as successful as those raised by straight parents. Pro-family means that you’re not going to rip established families apart because you can’t see through the veil of your own self-defeating prejudices.

“Pro-family is not demonizing and dehumanizing people because they’re different than you are. It is not labeling a group of people immoral because you don’t understand human sexuality.

"I am far from silent on pro-family issues. I am, in fact, vociferous. I imagine that it is a voice you’d rather be silent. The truth is that there is no homosexual agenda. There is no homosexual lobby. There are only people — men, women, transgendered, and others — who deserve equal treatment under the law, and equal respect in our society. Human beings with dignity, who love and are loved, in return.

“You signed the letter as “HON. EUGENE DELGAUDIO,” but there is nothing honorable about your letter, your survey, or your conduct. You and your group should be ashamed of sending this pile of excrement. And I hope that if there is even a shred of humanity within you that you feel a twinge of guilt and shame for comparing loving couples and parents to pedophiles.”

Josh Derke now has a fundraising page up at JoshDerke.ruck.us. Read the cover letter to the survey he received from the PAUC, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Detroit Area Catholic High School Administrators to Review Policies After Firing Pregnant Gay Teacher

Webb

Administrators at a Detroit-area Catholic high school have announced they will review policies and procedures following the controversial firing of a gay teacher who claimed she was sacked last month because of her pregnancy, The Detroit News reports:

Mary Jane Herb, president of the Monroe-based Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in a letter to supporters this week referred to "the recent employment matter" and "a complexity of issues" facing the Catholic church and its schools. She did not specifically name Barbara Webb, the teacher who was terminated last month from the private, all-girls Bloomfield Hills school.

"Consequently, we need to have ongoing education and a new lens through which to view issues and situations that are emerging," Herb wrote in the letter dated Monday. "Pope Francis has brought a sense of hope to our lives and encourages us to look at our Church with new eyes. No, it is not likely that doctrine will change, however the Pope emphasizes that the values of mercy, inclusion and compassion need to be included in our response to complex situations."

Earlier this month, Webb revealed that her termination letter didn't give any reasons for the firing, but that previous conversations with school officials pointed to her violating a morality clause allowing for firing over public conduct of "lifestyle or action directly contradictory to the Catholic faith."

The Detroit News adds that a change.org petition asking the high school to end its discriminatory anti-LGBT policies has gathered nearly 70,000 signatures.


Black Pastors Invoke Martin Luther King, Form Alliance Against Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

Stacy swimp
(Pastor Stacy Swimp)

A coalition of black pastors and supporters has said it will file legal briefs in more than 80 court cases involving lawsuits to legalize same-sex marriage, reports The Detroit News.

Flint, Michigan Pastor Stacy Swimp said at a press conference yesterday that he also wants to see a boycott against black-owned media and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for supporting marriage equality.

The press conference was organized by the coalition and right wing legal groups Thomas More Law Center which is filing the briefs on the pastors’ behalf.

Swimp announced that the coalition’s members will speak out against judges who have ruled in favor of lifting voter-approved bans on gay marriage.

Claiming that marriage was defined by god, Swimp argued that the Constitution does not indicate “that equal justice under the law is relative to marriage redefinition."

Invoking Martin Luther King and with a massive lack of insight that prejudice exists outside the vacuum of his own little world, Swimp also announced on Facebook that he is "compelled to fight against the injustice of redefining marriage and against any and all false comparisons of sexual orientation to being Black- anywhere and everywhere that this hijacking of civil rights is taking place."

However, Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president and CEO of the NAACP said:

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.”

Watch Swimp launch his defense of "traditional marriage," AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo by Stacy Swimp.)

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Gay Teacher at Detroit Area Catholic High School Says Pregnancy Cost Her Job: VIDEO

Webb

A gay former chemistry teacher at a Catholic, all-girls high school in suburban Detroit said she was fired because of her "nontraditional" pregnancy, the Detroit Free Press reports:

Barbara Webb, 33, of Madison Heights said she’d worked for Marian High School for nine years, also coaching volleyball and softball and serving as student-government moderator. She is gay but said she believes the public, visible nature of a pregnancy led to her firing.

She learned she was pregnant in June, told her employer in July and was fired in mid-August, Webb said. On Aug. 27 she posted on Facebook announcing the firing and encouraging people to “speak out against hate wherever you see it,” according to the post shared more than 1,000 times by Monday.

Today, Webb told the Free Press that her termination letter didn’t give a reason. But her previous conversation with administrators made clear the concerns had to do with a morality clause allowing for firing over public conduct of “lifestyle or actions directly contradictory to the Catholic faith,” she said.

“That you can’t hide a pregnancy from the public is why I was terminated,” she said

Watch a myFoxDetroit report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

School administrators have declined to comment, saying that the situation remains "confidential." Meanwhile, numerous students and alumni have spoken out in support of Webb and a Facebook page "I Stand With Barb Webb" has already gained over 2,000 members.

Continue reading "Gay Teacher at Detroit Area Catholic High School Says Pregnancy Cost Her Job: VIDEO" »


Married Michigan Gay Couples Ask State to Recognize Their Marriages

MichiganThe state of Michigan is being asked to recognize hundreds of gay marriages that were performed in the state during a brief window in March when licenses were issued to same-sex couples following a ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Shortly after the nuptials took place, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that the state, unlike the federal government,  would not be recognizing the marriages. 

The AP reports:

"The state cannot mandatorily divorce you," University of Michigan law professor Julian Mortenson said during a 90-minute hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the state's gay marriage ban on March 21, and more than 300 same-sex couples in four counties got hitched the next day, Saturday, before an appeals court suspended the decision and blocked additional marriages.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati recently heard arguments about whether to overturn or affirm Friedman's decision. In the meantime, the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting to force the state to recognize the marriages that did happen for the purpose of benefits and other issues.

The lawyer argued that even if a higher court eventually reinstates Michigan's ban on gay marriages, the unions should still be considered valid.


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