SAGINAW NEWS — Anti-gay critic doesn't — and shouldn't — rattle lesbian Democratic leader from Saginaw
|“‘In solidarity especially with African-American and union households who strongly supported the Marriage Protection Amendment,’ (American Family Association of Michigan president Gary) Glenn said in the statement, ‘we encourage rank-and-file Democrats in Saginaw County to take their party back from homosexual activists such as Garnet Lewis, who will obviously steer the party in a direction not supported by voters of either party.’ His argument: If Saginaw County voters in 2004 helped the state support an amendment Glenn co-authored which banned same-sex marriage, a gay official shouldnâ€™t hold office in 2010. Heâ€™s not fibbing about the facts. Fifty-nine percent of county residents favored the legislation. …Glenn merely is protecting what he perceives are the sacred values and morals of the American family. There are plenty of people who agree with him.”
See full AFA-Michigan news release on this story:
Anti-gay critic doesn’t — and shouldn’t — rattle
by Justin L. Engel / The Saginaw News
No matter where she goes, Garnet Lewis canâ€™t seem to shake scrutiny from Gary Glenn.
Luckily, the openly-lesbian Saginaw County Democratic Party chairwoman has two things on her side when facing Glennâ€™s anti-gay ire:
â€¢ She finds his efforts humorous.
â€¢ Glennâ€™s point is based on faulty â€” not to mention, dated â€” logic.
The American Family Association of Michigan president, upon hearing news earlier this month that the 48-year-old Lewis had ascended the political ranks to become her partyâ€™s leader, sent a media release filled with the anti-gay message heâ€™s advocated for years.
â€œIn solidarity especially with African-American and union households who strongly supported the Marriage Protection Amendment,â€ Glenn said in the statement, â€œwe encourage rank-and-file Democrats in Saginaw County to take their party back from homosexual activists such as Garnet Lewis, who will obviously steer the party in a direction not supported by voters of either party.â€
His argument: If Saginaw County voters in 2004 helped the state support an amendment Glenn co-authored which banned same-sex marriage, a gay official shouldnâ€™t hold office in 2010.
Heâ€™s not fibbing about the facts. Fifty-nine percent of county residents favored the legislation.
However, the rationale misses the mark. Linking a six-year-old marriage policy decision with the modern-day relevance of a political party leaderâ€™s sexual orientation is straw-grasping. While state voters in 2004 defeated gay marriage, itâ€™s unreasonable to attach that decision to 2010â€™s political landscape or any of the gay figures who may roam it.
That would be like arguing Congress should approve all Republican-issued legislation because the nation voted for George W. Bush in 2004.
Times change, and no one vote serves as a referendum for all remotely-related matters thereafter.
â€œHonestly, there are more important issues on peopleâ€™s minds than my private life,â€ Lewis said. â€œPeople care much more about having someone (in the Democratic Party) as it pertains to the economy or getting more jobs back. Things that really matter. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m focused on.â€
Glennâ€™s argument also loses points for appearing to include playground-style jabs â€” the press release twice refers to Lewis as a â€œchairmanâ€ â€” and a veiled attempt at pre-empting hate speech accusations by appealing to blacks, a demographic familiar with profiling and intimidation.
Lewis, though, said she isnâ€™t intimidated by Glenn.
â€œI think itâ€™s funny,â€ Lewis said. â€œThis is how he spends his time.â€
Sheâ€™s familiar with the act. Lewis faced it first when she ran unsuccessfully for the state House 98th District in 2008 when Glenn â€” and not her competitor, Republican candidate James N. Stamas of Midland Township â€” publicly brought up Lewisâ€™ sexuality in attack ads.
The only time she has mentioned her lifestyle or gay rights issues to The Saginaw News was in reports sparked by Glennâ€™s criticism.
â€œHe learns this information by trolling gay Web sites,â€ she said. â€œI donâ€™t know what that says about him.â€
Glenn has tackled other issues relating to gays.
He and three mid-Michigan ministers in February filed a civil rights suit challenging the constitutionality of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act that President Barack Obama signed in October. The act makes it a federal offense to assault someone because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
Glenn over the years has squabbled with a number of gay rights groups, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In 2007, its executive director blamed Glennâ€™s â€œhomophobic rantsâ€ in part for an alleged hate crime death of a 72-year-old gay Detroit man, Andrew Anthos. A medical examiner later ruled Anthos likely died of natural causes.
No, Glenn isnâ€™t â€œthe bad guyâ€ in this debate. Too often when it comes to gay issues, proponents or opponents are demonized. Glenn merely is protecting what he perceives are the sacred values and morals of the American family. There are plenty of people who agree with him…and they have that right.
But that doesnâ€™t make them right.