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STATE NEWS — Michigan Pride festival to celebrate diversity

June 29, 2006

“Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association (of) Michigan, said the (homosexual ‘pride’) festival brings about awareness, but not in the way some (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) people intend. ‘I think it invigorates and activates most citizens of Michigan to be alert and on guard to protect marriage and other traditional values,’ Glenn said. ‘I think people in Michigan made their voice heard in 2004 when they overwhelmingly approved constitutional protection of one-man, one-woman marriage and rejected homosexuals’ radical attempts to redefine it.'”

THE STATE NEWS
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
June 21, 2006

Michigan Pride festival to celebrate diversity
by Andrea Byl, The State News

STATE NEWS FILE PHOTO
Two festivalgoers share a moment of celebration after receiving a certificate of commitment during Michigan Pride on June 25, 2005.

Thousands of activists and supporters will fill the streets of Lansing this weekend for the statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, Pride weekend.

The 18th annual festival will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Lansing’s Louis F. Adado Riverfront Park on Grand Avenue, and will feature food, live music and entertainment throughout the day.

“What Michigan Pride — the march and rally — focus on … (is) raising awareness of a large range of things effecting the LGBT community,” said Brent Bilodeau, director of MSU’s Office of LGBT Concerns.

Bilodeau said MSU typically has students, faculty and staff that are involved in the march and festival.

The march to the Capitol will begin at noon and will be followed by the LGBT Civil Rights Rally on the Capitol steps at 1:30 p.m.

“I think this is basically a general thing to bring people together … to show people we are here. People have these preconceived notions of who we are … and (the festival) destroys a lot of the preconceptions,” said Felicia Anderson, a humanities and pre-law junior and president of BRIGHT, the Brody Complex caucus for LGBT students. “I’m definitely going to take part in the march and the rally.”

This year, the rally will focus on second-parent adoption, said co-chair of Michigan Pride Kevin Lambrix, who helped organize the event.

The state of Michigan allows gay and lesbian adoption, but only by an individual — not by a couple, Lambrix said.

“We aren’t asking for anything special. We are just asking to be treated right, treated fair,” he said.

This weekend’s rally will be Julie Hartman’s third time attending the festival in Lansing. Hartman — a graduate student and member of MSU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student Association — said same-sex marriage and adoption are issues that are important and will be addressed at the rally.

The rally has been a great experience each time she has attended.

“For the most part, I think the rally at the Capitol (is) an empowering experience to be around so many empowering people,” Hartman said.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association in Michigan, said the festival brings about awareness, but not in the way some LGBT people intend.

“I think it invigorates and activates most citizens of Michigan to be alert and on guard to protect marriage and other traditional values,” Glenn said. “I think people in Michigan made their voice heard enough in 2004 when they overwhelmingly approved constitutional protection of one man, one woman marriage, and rejected homosexuals’ radical attempts to redefine it.”

Following the rally, a Commitment Ceremony will be held at the Capitol, the stage will open and live music will begin.

“We are all going out to show our pride; it’s a great time,” Anderson said.

The festival will end Saturday night at 8 p.m., but will be followed by a dance party on the streets of Lansing’s Old Town.

Bilodeau said the festival creates an opportunity for celebration and self-education for the Lansing and East Lansing communities.

“It is about celebrating the lives of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, and it is about raising awareness of critical political issues that affect this community,” he said.
http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=36684

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