LGBT

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In February, the global United Methodist Church approved legislation strengthening a ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages. 

On Tuesday, Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City announced it will join the Reconciling Ministries Network in opposition of that ban. 

Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is a union of Methodist communities across the country that embrace the full inclusion of LGBTQ members. 

Polestar LGBT+ Community Center of Traverse City/Facebook

Polestar LGBT+ Community Center of Traverse City opened its doors Saturday. It's the first of its kind in northern Michigan.

The state Department of Civil Rights is now accepting complaints from people who say they’ve faced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s also getting ready to defend its right to do so.

 The Michigan Civil Rights Commission this week changed its interpretation of the state’s civil rights law. It now includes being refused housing or employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity as forms of sex discrimination.

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are once again calling for more legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Lawmakers have tried for years to expand the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include legal protections for LGBT people.

Previous attempts have failed to make much progress, due in part to a Republican legislature.

Morgan Springer

A group is working to open an LGBT community center in Traverse City. Around 60 people gathered to discuss the proposed center at a town hall meeting last night.

 

  The meeting began with a moment of silence for those killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday. Steph White, the executive director of Equality Michigan, talked about violence against the LGBT community.

 

“I knew at a very young age that I was actually a woman.”

Those are the words of Amy Hunter. She is the Transgender Advocacy Project coordinator for the ACLU of Michigan ,and her story is one of the many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community that she represents.

Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio

A campaign to add LGBT and gender protections to the Michigan Constitution plans to start gathering signatures in January if a state elections board gives it the go-ahead.

The Board of State Canvassers is being asked to approve the petition form to be circulated by the Fair Michigan ballot campaign. It would add protections against LGBT and gender discrimination to the equal protection clause of the Michigan Constitution. It currently offers anti-discrimination protections based on religion, race, color, or national origin.

Shattuck family

This is a story about love and family. 

Trisha Shattuck is transgender. Her spouse, Marcia, chose to stay with her as Trisha transitioned from a masculine to more feminine presentation. But the transition was a challenge for Trisha’s family. Their story is captured in a recent documentary, "From This Day Forward," the making of which helped the family talk more openly with each other. 

 

Linda Tellis is known as Lady Ace Boogie in west Michigan’s hip hop scene. She is a community activist and is trying to change what she calls the “broken” world of hip hop.

Tellis turned her life around five years ago. She used to be involved in gangs.

“I didn’t have anybody to look up to. All I had was what was in front of me and unfortunately that was the streets and that’s it," Tellis said.

That’s all behind her now. In her latest album, Feel Good Music, she takes a stab at the hip hop industry and how rappers and artists are focused on fame and material things.


Rick Pluta

Michigan is now waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to make its decision on same-sex marriage bans like the one adopted by voters 11 years ago.

Thousands of demonstrators for and against same-sex marriage pressed up to the steps of the Supreme Court and cheered and jeered as the litigants emerged.

The state of Michigan says it’s an issue for voters to decide. The challengers says there’s no reason for Michigan and other states to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

April DeBoer says she’s optimistic the court will allow her to marry her partner, Jayne Rowse.

People have been lining up outside the U.S. Supreme Court for days hoping that they will be among the lucky ones to get a seat for Tuesday's historic arguments on gay marriage.

As of now, gay marriage is legal in 36 states. By the end of this Supreme Court term, either same-sex couples will be able to wed in all 50 states, or gay marriage bans may be reinstituted in many of the states where they've previously been struck down.

Lawmakers could again consider legislation that would protect faith-based adoption agencies. The bills would shield agencies that refuse to place children with particular families for religious reasons.

Every Democrat in the state House voted against two similar bills last year before they died in the Senate. But one of those Democrats says he has changed his mind on the issue and is now sponsoring one of the bills.

In Michigan, you can be fired or denied housing for being gay. That's because there are no LGBT protections in the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Yesterday the choice of whether to add LGBT rights to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was stalled in the House Commerce Committee, and it looks like it will likely stay there.

Right now in Michigan, you can be fired from a job or be denied housing if you're gay. A group of LGBT rights advocates wants that changed. 

Michigan has filed its response with the US Supreme Court to the legal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state is asking the court to take the case, and uphold the US 6th Circuit Court’s decision that voters and legislators – not judges -- should decide the question.

“This case comes down to two words: who decides,” is the opening to the state’s brief. “The history of our democracy demonstrates the wisdom of allowing the people to decide important

issues at the ballot box, rather than ceding those decisions to unelected judges.”

Michigan Public Radio Network

  The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed its appeal today (Mon.) with the US Supreme Court. They want the court to rule that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and others like it across the country are unconstitutional.

Fast track

This is speedy timing as Supreme Court appeals go. The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled less than two weeks ago, upholding same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The Ohio and Tennessee same-sex marriage appeals were filed last week. Now, Kentucky and Michigan have filed. The goal is to get the case on the Supreme Court’s calendar in the current term.

“We’re very, very hopeful that the Supreme Court will take one of our cases,”said Dana Nessel,  an attorney for DeBoer and Rowse, the lesbian couple from Hazel Park who sued the state of Michigan over its same-sex marriage ban. The two nurses want to get married so they can jointly adopt the children they’re raising together.

This is the last week the state Legislature is scheduled to meet before the November election. Lawmakers probably won’t take up any controversial bills until their “lame duck” session in December.

Supporters of legislation to add LBGT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law are still optimistic lawmakers will pass it before the end of the year.

“I’m pretty heartened by the openness that (state House Speaker Jase Bolger) has shown to us in having those discussions,” said Shelli Weisberg with the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

You can be fired, denied a job or housing in Michigan if you are gay. Michigan's civil rights law, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, does not include LGBT protections, the same way it does for race, ethnicity, and gender. 

But yesterday, Democrats at the state capitol proposed legislation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Elliott-Larsen. 

Jonathan Oosting of MLive says whether or not that public debate leads to action remains to be seen.

"There's certainly some belief that it's time to have this debate, although the way things went down this week has sort of raised some questions about how feasible it's going to be to get this through the Legislature," says Oosting.

* Listen to the interview with Jonathan Oosting above.

The firing of a pregnant teacher at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills is making headlines.

For nine years, Barb Webb taught chemistry and coached various teams at the all-girls Catholic school.

Webb is a lesbian. She married her wife, Kristen, two years ago. Earlier this year, they found out they were expecting a baby.

Barb Webb's firing has ignited an emotional response on social media.

Many Marian alumnae, parents and supporters spoke out in support of Webb on a Facebook page that has more than 4,000 members.

On other sites, however, there are those who believe Webb violated the teachings of the Catholic Church, and, as such, the Catholic private school was well within its rights to fire her.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

  The future of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is in the hands of a federal appeals court. Michigan was one of four states before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati Wednesday, arguing to keep their bans in place.

If the Potter Stewart Federal Courthouse had a theater marquee, it might have proclaimed a full-fledged “Legalpalooza” with six cases from four states playing in one marathon session. Some people, about a half a dozen, even spent the night outside the courthouse in hopes of getting a seat to the show.

Catholic Parish Bans Gay Man From Ministering

Jun 17, 2014
WNMU Marquette

A gay man from Marquette has been told he can no longer actively participate in mass at his local Catholic parish.

The mandate from St. Michael’s came after Bobby Glenn Brown held a commitment ceremony Saturday with his partner of 31 years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmpbMvxlgpA

Governor Rick Snyder's statement after a federal court overturns Michigan's ban on same sex marriage in March 2014.

Paul Maritinez/Flickr

Republican leaders in the Legislature say they can see adding civil rights protections in housing and employment for lesbian, gay, and transgender people happening before the end of this year. That’s after Governor Rick Snyder said last week that he’d like lawmakers to take up the question.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he also thinks it’s time.

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal court to order the state to recognize 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan last March.

“These marriages happened during a window when it was legal to get married in Michigan, and 300 couples were married lawfully,” says  Kary Moss of the ACLU. The marriages took place back in March, the day after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and before that order was put on hold by an appeals court.

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