Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell from Michigan has been banned from the University of Michigan campus after inflammatory blog posts were made toward a gay student leader, according to CNN’s AC360 blog. Shirvell made disparaging remarks on his “Chris Armstrong Watch” blog, as Armstrong is the first openly gay president of the Michigan Student Assembly. So far, no disciplinary action has been taken against Shirvell, although Armstrong has filed a restraining order against him. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm stated on her Twitter feed that, if Shirvell was working in her department, “he would already have been fired.”
This is not the first time, and probably won’t be the last time, that a politician has butted heads with the gay community. Other famous examples over the past few years have made inflammatory remarks against the homosexuals. Here are the most notorious in recent memory.
Newt Gingrich, speaking to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, called the gay community “fascism” and said the movement “wants to impose its will on the rest of us” in 2008. Even though Gingrich will likely never be elected to office again, his conservative view of homosexuals is disturbing.
Gingrich was referring to California’s Proposition 8, an amendment restricting the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples only, which was subsequently passed by voters. Gingrich also referred to the gay community as “secular extremists” and “anti-ethical,” according to a transcript on MediaMatters.org.
Mark Foley resigned his post as representative from Florida over his Internet messages to a 16-year-old boy who was a page on his staff, according to the Washington Post. Foley had repeatedly denied being gay, but harassment of a juvenile, male or female, is unethical and illegal.
Amidst a storm of controversy in which then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged an immediate investigation the night before, Foley resigned in 2006. Republican leadership knew about the messages sent between him and the page earlier in the spring.
Texas Republican Party
The platform of the Republican Party in Texas for 2010 says that “the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.” They also want to make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a gay couple.
The case of the Texas Republican Party is perhaps one of the most demonstrative stances against homosexuality from one political party ever seen in the struggle for equal rights so far. The language used by the party is strong and straightforward.
Harassment is Harassment
Shirvell shouldn’t be using his time in office to harass citizens of his own state, no matter how his personal views differ from someone else’s. If he was working in a regular office with a few hundred people and he did this, Shirvell would be fired for harassment on the spot. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and his superior will take the necessary steps to remove Shirvell from his post. There should be no place for harassment from our trusted government officials no matter what.
The fact that gays and lesbians are being picked on from all facets of society shows that many Americans are deeply troubled and afraid of homosexuality. With recent suicides related to gay teenagers gaining national attention, we should stop the harassment at all levels, take a hard look at ourselves, and ask if harassing gays is really worth a human life. It seems the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s has taught us nothing.
CNN, MediaMatters, the Washington Post, and the Texas Tribune contributed information for this article.