“According to Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, not everyone in the community was in favor of including the (‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’) amendments. …Glenn said that AFA-Michigan would be working with those Dearborn Heights residents that also oppose the amendments by supporting them in their efforts to gather enough signatures to have the issue placed on a ballot, which would allow voters to decide whether the amendments would remain.”
PRESS & GUIDE
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
November 16, 2005
Gay-rights group hosting town hall meeting here
by Sean Delaney
DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. — The Triangle Foundation, a Detroit-based organization that serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, will be hosting a special town hall meeting from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at the Canfield Community Center, 1810 N. Beech Daly Road, just south of Ford Road, in Dearborn Heights.
According to Sean Kosofsky, director of policy for the Triangle Foun-dation, the meeting will be held to address concerns about a possible repeal of two amendments to the city’s Community and Cultural Relations Commission that guarantee protection for residents against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
The amendments were included as part of the ordinance in a 5-1 decision by the Dearborn Heights City Council during a meeting held on Oct. 11, the same night the ordinance was also passed in a unanimous decision.
First drafted by Council member Margaret Van Houten as a tool to foster communication and education between the many diverse groups in the community, the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity were brought up during a closed session meeting of the Council by City Comptroller Don Barrow and Council member Janet Badalow.
To not include certain groups, Badalow said, would nullify the purpose of a commission that was intended to be representative of the Dearborn Heights community.
However, according to Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan and a Midland resident, not everyone in the community was in favor of including the amendments.
The American Family Association of Michigan is based out of Midland and has become well known for its stance against abortion and homosexuality.
The group, Glenn said, in an interview late last month, does not oppose any particular individuals or organizations, only certain policies such as the amendments to the Dearborn Heights ordinance.
Glenn said that the AFA-Michigan would be working with those Dearborn Heights residents that also oppose the amendments by supporting them in their efforts to gather enough signatures to have the issue placed on a ballot, which would allow voters to decide whether the amendments would remain.
Only registered voters in Dearborn Heights are allowed to legally circulate the petitions, Glenn said.
The Nov. 21 meeting will address the possible repeal of the amendments to the ordinance, as well as the message of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.
Phelps will be coming to Dearborn Heights and Ann Arbor on Saturday to picket two productions of “The Laramie Project,” a stage show about life in the town of Laramie, Wyo. after the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old openly gay college student, in 1998. The play opened Nov. 11 at the Berwyn Senior Center, 26155 Richardson, in Dearborn Heights.
The town hall meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Sean Kosofsky at (313) 537-3323, ext. 105.