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DAILY TRIBUNE — Conservative Christian group vows to fight gay rights ordinance

March 6, 2006

“A conservative Christian activist group plans to campaign against a gay rights ordinance that the City Council is expected to pass sometime this spring. Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan said Thursday he has already been contacted by a Ferndale resident concerning Ferndale’s consideration of a third attempt to pass a gay rights ordinance. …Openly gay Councilman Craig Covey raised the issue of bringing the gay ordinance back, saying he believes the council and city voters would now pass the measure. ‘I’m not surprised to hear that the extremist jackals of the religious right may once again descend on Ferndale to fight against equal rights,’ Covey said.”

DAILY TRIBUNE
Royal Oak, Michigan
March 5, 2006

Conservative Christian group
vows to fight gay rights ordinance

by Michael P. McConnell

FERNDALE — A conservative Christian activist group plans to campaign against a gay rights ordinance that the City Council is expected to pass sometime this spring.

Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan said Thursday he has already been contacted by a Ferndale resident concerning Ferndale’s consideration of a third attempt to pass a gay rights ordinance.

The AFA of Michigan spent $5,000 to defeat a gay rights ordinance in Ferndale in 2000. Ferndale voters defeated a similar measure in 1991.

“There’s still a cadre of people in Ferndale who remained active ever since the 2000 campaign,” Glenn said. “We’ll be helping the citizens of Ferndale any way we can.”

Openly gay Councilman Craig Covey raised the issue of bringing the gay ordinance back, saying he believes the council and city voters would now pass the measure.

“I’m not surprised to hear that the extremist jackals of the religious right may once again descend on Ferndale to fight against equal rights,” Covey said. “Their homophobia does not allow them to accept a small town like Ferndale wishing to demonstrate tolerance and acceptance of diversity.”

Voters in 2000 defeated by a 3-percent margin what was called a human rights ordinance that prohibited discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on a person’s sexual orientation.

Glenn’s organization in Michigan is part of a national American Family Association which has more than 2 million supporters and other chapters in 20 states.

The AFA of Michigan has worked to oppose other gay right’s ordinances. The group successfully helped defeat a gay rights ordinance in 2001 in Royal Oak, but failed the same year to defeat a similar measure in Huntington Woods.

The group also failed to get city charter amendments passed banning such ordinances in Traverse City, Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo several years ago.

“The language used in (the ordinances) discriminates against people of faith and others who oppose (homo)sexual activists’ political agenda,” Glenn said, adding that such measures create a special legal status for people based on sexual behavior.

Although Glenn’s group has failed in four out of the six gay rights related ballot issues, he said the AFA campaigns have all been effective.

“I think we succeeded in making the issue so controversial that most city politicians don’t want any part of it,” Glenn said.

Still, gay rights measures are on the books in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Grand Rapids and East Lansing, as well as 16 states.

Covey hopes the City Council will review and pass a gay rights ordinance by May in time for the MotorCity Pride gay festival in Ferndale in June, the biggest such event in the state.

If council passes the measure it would then be up to opponents to gather several hundred signatures on petitions to put it on a ballot for a citywide vote.

That’s what happened in 2000. Covey, however, believes the measure will succeed this time.

“I’m absolutely sure Ferndale voters will turn out in big numbers to support it,” he said. “I think Mr. Glenn will be very disappointed about the very cool reception he gets in Ferndale this time around.”

http://www.dailytribune.com/stories/030506/loc_20060305003.shtml

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