Ferndale, Michigan on Tuesday chose the city’s first openly gay mayor and the first elected in the state, according to the Detroit News: Craig Covey, an eight-year city council member. Ferndale is a northern suburb of Detroit.
Said Covey in a press release: “We are showing the region a new way. his city embraces diversity, smart growth, efficiency, bi-partisan compromise, and eco-friendly policies…The city is now known as a leader in the efforts to bring mass transit to the metro area and has advocated for greener policies and more regional cooperation. It is also known as a safe place for diverse communities, including the most visible GLBT community in the state.” Read Covey’s press release here (PDF)
The Detroit News reports: “With the legal battle over whether Proposal Two requires the granting benefits to same sex couples being waged now in the Michigan Supreme Court, [Susan] Horowitz (founder of Pride Source and co-publisher of Between the Lines) said the Ferndale vote was especially encouraging. ‘You just look at Ferndale as a really shining light in a state that’s had some setbacks,’ she said. ‘I’m just ecstatic.’ Covey, a Ferndale resident for 18 years, founded the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project. As a city councilman, he has championed the city’s Human Rights ordinance, mass transit and green-friendly policies.”
Leah Closson, a resident of Ferndale for 16 years, told the paper: “He represents the overall interests of everyone in the city. We’re a heterosexual family with two kids and we own our own home. I feel he represents us.”
Here’s more on the benefits case currently being heard by Michigan’s Supreme Court. The court is deciding whether Michigan’s marriage amendment prohibits the state from extending health and other benefits to partners in same-sex relationships: “Lawyers representing public employers, affected employees, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the ACLU and gay rights groups said voters’ support for the amendment reflected a desire to protect the institution of marriage, but not to limit health care or other worker benefits.”