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Posted on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 6:01 a.m.

Ann Arbor City Council condemns Andrew Shirvell's attacks on Chris Armstrong

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje stood side-by-side with University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong at the start of Monday's City Council meeting, as its members celebrated a long history of gay rights advocacy in the city.

Armstrong, the university's first openly gay student body president, has been the subject of anti-gay attacks by Assistant State Attorney General Andrew Shirvell in recent months, attracting national media attention. Armstrong was treated more like a celebrity inside city hall Monday night as the City Council condemned Shirvell's attacks.

A large crowd of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates watched proudly from the sidelines as Hieftje stood next to Armstrong and read a proclamation into the record, officially establishing October as LGBT History Month in Ann Arbor.

Several minutes later, the crowd cheered when the City Council also voted 10-0 in support of a resolution against hatred and intolerance. Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, was absent.

The resolution was sponsored by openly gay Council Member Sandi Smith, D-1st Ward, and specifically condemns Shirvell's actions against Armstrong.


Chris Armstrong, center, stands at the podium Monday night as Mayor John Hieftje reads a proclamation in support of making October LGBT History Month in Ann Arbor.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"In some ways I'm happy to bring this forward, in other ways, I'm sad to bring this forward," Smith said of her resolution, wishing it were under different circumstances.

"I don't want this to be a punitive moment, although this resolution really is and it needs to be punitive," she said. "No one deserves to be bullied or harassed for any reason — gender expression or identity or sexual orientation included."

Smith read aloud a list of names of gay teenagers throughout the nation who have been killed or pushed to commit suicide in recent years because of bullying or harassment by peers.

"It's inexcusable that this happens," she said. "And I'm proud to have gotten an opportunity to meet Mr. Armstrong as the president of the Michigan Student Assembly, and he is a strong leader and I'm not fearing for his safety because he's got the whole community supporting him."

Armstrong filed a request for a personal protection order against Shirvell in September after months of being targeted by Shirvell, who is a U-M alumnus. Shirvell launched a blog attacking Armstrong and showed up at numerous events criticizing him for his “radical homosexual agenda,” which includes pushing for gender-neutral housing on campus.

Shirvell's blog has included pictures of Armstrong with slurs printed across his face and a rainbow flag featuring a swastika, calling him "Satan's representative" and a "privileged pervert."

"The actions of Assistant Attorney General Shirvell, including bullying, stalking and harassment, are not consistent with the Ann Arbor Human Rights Ordinance," reads the resolution approved by the City Council Monday night.

The resolution calls on Attorney General Mike Cox to join with the Michigan Sheriffs Association, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Michigan State Police and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan in support of new hate crime legislation.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission unanimously passed resolutions last week condemning Shirvell's attacks on Armstrong. Members of the Human Rights Commission spoke at Monday's council meeting.

Chairwoman Leslie Stambaugh said Shirvell's actions are intolerable for anyone, let alone a public official serving in the state attorney general's office. Stambaugh urged the City Council to "make a statement" to counter the "damaging message" Cox left after his interview on national television on CNN "that passivity was the best we could do in Michigan."

"The resolution calls on the attorney general to make it clear that his office represents the interests of every Michigan resident, to make sure that no taxpayer funds and resources were used in this harassment, and ultimately, to show that there's no room on his staff for an attorney who's unwilling to represent the interests of every Michigan resident," she said.

Andre Wilson, another member of the Human Rights Commission who is transgender, said the attacks against Armstrong go beyond personal.

"He has been targeted precisely because he is a leader, and an out gay leader," Wilson said. "When Chris is targeted, we're all targeted."

Hieftje called upon citizens and civic organizations to learn more about the contributions of the LGBT community and to celebrate the leadership of Ann Arbor residents over the years in "shaping a world free from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation."

The proclamation he read during Monday's meeting provided a brief rundown of some of Ann Arbor's history of advocating for the civil and human rights of the LGBT community.

In January 1970, gay men and lesbians in Ann Arbor came together to form the Ann Arbor Gay Liberation Front, one of the first such organizations in the United States.

In September 1971, the University of Michigan instituted on its Ann Arbor campus the first staff office for sexual orientation concerns at any institution of higher learning in the United States, an office that continues to function today as the U-M Spectrum Center.

In June 1972, the Ann Arbor City Council proclaimed "Gay Pride Week," the first such action by a municipal governing body in the United States. And in July 1972, Ann Arbor became the first municipality in the nation to extend broad protections for "sexual orientation" in employment, housing and public accommodations through its local Human Rights Ordinance.

In April 1974, Ann Arbor became the first jurisdiction in the United States to elect an openly lesbian or gay person to any public office, with the election of Kathy Kozachenko, of the Human Rights Party, to the Ann Arbor City Council.

In 1975, two Ann Arbor labor unions, AFT Local 3550 and the Transportation Employees Union, became the first in the country to negotiate contractual protections for lesbian and gay workers.

Smith issued a public service announcement Monday night in hopes of avoiding another death due to anti-gay harassment or bullying.

"If you see somebody that's struggling around you, please don't hesitate to reach out because you don't know when you can make a difference to somebody," she said. "It's a particularly difficult topic for a lot of people to talk about, so be proactive about it, please."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

Thank you to Sandi Smith and the folks on the city council! It was an important thing to do.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:13 p.m.

"Can she get married? Sure. She can find a man and get married. Can she marry another woman? No: it's not legal. Now personally, I have only one objection to making it legal: It will hurt children. The reality is most businesses (those lucky enough to remain in business, that is) find their revenues dramatically reduced these days." Want to help MANY Michigan businesses? How about the entire wedding industry. Your other argument makes no sense. If that were true than would you accept a business laying off only married people to save money? Wouldn't that be the smart thing to do? Those with children should not get a tax break either since YOU made the choice to have kids and you cost employers more money and jobs. Kids and women go to the doctor statistically more often than men. I guess from an economic perspective women should not be allowed to work either. Hell you want to know what really screwed up the economy? The ending of slavery. That built in labor pool led to inexpensive agriculture for many years. Let's just bring slavery back in the name of he economy.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

@racer...its never over


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

@Bill Wilson Still need some elaboration then. What are you saying? Are you saying that by allowing gay marriage it will throw our economy into ruin and the children would have to pay for it? I can see how economic ruin would hurt our children but gay marriage cannot cause economic ruin. Your premise is that if we allow gay marriage to be legal the burden on business to provide healthcare to a spouse would be too costly, but lets say that gays married the opposite sex there would still need to be that same coverage to the spouse. So that is basically a net zero circumstance. By using healthcare burden by businesses is nothing more than a straw man argument that is illogical.

Bill Wilson

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:07 a.m.

@Bill Willson On what basis are you getting the idea that gay marriage will hurt children? Research has shown that children adopted or born to gay couples actually grow up to be just fine, in fact the research suggests they have less problems. So that statement has been used a lot and has no basis. And not allowing gay marriage because it would be costly to business is just sad. Letting the "almighty dollar" take precedence over whether people can have a basic right like marriage should not even enter the debate. I said nothing as to the psychological health of children. I think what is truly sad are those who would throw children under the bus to promote an unstainable economic burden in an already near depression-like state.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

@Bill Willson On what basis are you getting the idea that gay marriage will hurt children? Research has shown that children adopted or born to gay couples actually grow up to be just fine, in fact the research suggests they have less problems. So that statement has been used a lot and has no basis. And not allowing gay marriage because it would be costly to business is just sad. Letting the "almighty dollar" take precedence over whether people can have a basic right like marriage should not even enter the debate.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

@ EyeHeartA2, dude! Detroit once was the epicenter of Democratic Union politics and nobody is denying this! But, that was a long time ago, man. If Michigan is so left-leaning as you postulate, a self professed venture capitalist Republican like Ricky Snyder is leading the polls by 20 points over Virg Bernero? How come virtually every single policy change suggested by Governor Grandholm (I voted for her twice) has been blocked or pillaged by the Republican controlled Senate? Do you really think Detroit or what remains of A2s left leaning voters be able to save his campaign? I think youre in the river of Egypt. Get real, as the economy tanks future and more and more manufacturing jobs go to China and Mexico the more conservative and Michigan will become! That is not speculation, but based on historical fact.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 4:21 a.m.

@lorie- youre right. You wont change my mind. As you said, Mr. Armstrong, might be a resident of the city, head of the student government at the University in this city. Please understand that these are two unrelated events. Im a resident of the city too, can I get council and the mayor to cite me for something I may have done due to another individual defacing me? I think not. My point being, the events surrounding Mr. Armstrong has nothing to do with the function of council and the mayor whatsoever. Though residents wanting chickens or where residents can keep their garbage cans are worthy items that clearly falls within the functions of city government. This name calling spat these two adults are having is not a function of the city, and having the mayor waste time on this is a waste of time. End of story.

Ryan Munson

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:39 p.m.

Too bad there isn't a way to ban Andrew Shirvell from the city of Ann Arbor or Washtenaw County all together. He seems to be truly a sick man and quite scary he is a prosecutor. I am very happy the council officially stood against his actions.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

And now another reason ( I believe the fourth time city council has gotten involved in other people's business) I won't spend a dime of my money in Ann Arbor. The gift that just keeps on giving, A2 City Council, just like jelly of the month club!

Stephen Cain

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:22 p.m.

Eighty-five comments and counting. I'm amused and mildly surprised about the heat generated by Council's resolution. I was reminded of Tracy Kidder's description of Amherst, Mass., in his book "House" as a city "with its own foreign policy." That tone of mild bemusement seems appropriate for a municipal body that takes itself so seriously on so many issues both near to home and far from the city limits, although I happen to agree with this resolution. If history is any guide, Council has a tendency to micro-manage, so it is hard to argue that time spend on such a resolution somehow interferes with the proper conduct of city affairs.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:41 p.m.

Bill as usual you leave out one part of the equation. Can your step daughter get married to her partner? You were allowed to show the world how much you love your wife by marrying her. Your daughter can not. You do not leave your sexuality at the door. I bet in your work or business you mention your wife. But your step daughter can not. You could actually adopt her if you had wanted to, but she can not adopt a child. When you get SSI benefits, your wife will be allowed those. Can she get married? Sure. She can find a man and get married. Can she marry another woman? No: it's not legal. Now personally, I have only one objection to making it legal: It will hurt children. The reality is most businesses (those lucky enough to remain in business, that is) find their revenues dramatically reduced these days. Making same-sex marriage legal will force employers who provide health care benefits to provide benefits to all:something many (and maybe most in Michigan) employers simply cannot afford to do. The result will be that they'll be forced to quit providing health care benefits altogether, and this will harm our children. Sorry, IMO, that's simply too great of a price to pay.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

Inane and off-topic issues have been taken up by the city council going back decades. Let's see: making AA a "nuclear free zone" and declaring "solidarity" with the Sandanistas in Nicaragua come to mind and that's just in the 80's. Any hot button issue anytime and anywhere is fair game for our city council. Yet they can't fix bridges or budget for furniture in new buildings or any of the other mundane tasks they're charged with. Go figure?


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:06 p.m.

bill interesting personal story but not necessarily a typical i also know first hand. Open and supportive communication can, and has, been had,absent the sort of thing you experienced. roadman...just curious, but do you actually have any principals other than defending the use ( unto abuse) of a particular interpretation of the 1st amendment ( and one that oliver wendell holmes disagreed with)? i ask because on this and other threads you seem to champion really exhibitionistic people ( from arch conservative republicans to " so-far-left-they're right" ( and utterly mendacious) GREENsters with agendas which have only the common denominator of excessive public rudeness.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

Bill as usual you leave out one part of the equation. Can your step daughter get married to her partner? You were allowed to show the world how much you love your wife by marrying her. Your daughter can not. You do not leave your sexuality at the door. I bet in your work or business you mention your wife. But your step daughter can not. You could actually adopt her if you had wanted to, but she can not adopt a child. When you get SSI benefits, your wife will be allowed those. Please answer me why you deemed it necessary to marry your wife? Did you ever introduce girlfriends to your parents or friends? So yes, you did flaunt your sexuality. You just did it in a subtle way. Your daughter did it in a big way. It wasn't that you don't flaunt your sexuality, you just flaunt it in a different way.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:01 p.m.

"... What is the gay agenda?..." If this were the year 1850 rather than 2010, we'd get to listen to wailing and caterwauling by the antebellum political right over an alleged "Abolitionist Agenda" being forced upon proper, god-fearing people. They'd rail on about how abolition represents blasphemy upon "what The Lord told us" through the scriptures, and how it seeks a "special, protected status" for a minority. And a hundred years ago, the right squawked about the "Suffragist Agenda."

Bill Wilson

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

I'll confess to being unaware as to what "the" gay agenda is, but having raised a gay daughter in Ann Arbor, I can tell you what her agenda was: to shock and force a dialogue on the subject. And we had an interesting "journey." I became (we'll call her Amy) Amy's step-dad when she was in her early teens, and almost immediately, she began leaving pornography in plain sight and making sure that her telephone conversations were loud enough for us and our guests to hear. My poor Victorian aunt got the shock of her life when she leafed through a pile of books that I had set out for her and found some books Amy had planted. Amy once nearly got herself and her mother thrown off an airplane by holding up and reading porn directly in front of her face so the other passengers could see it. But she drew a blank with me: I never displayed a reaction. So, she forced a dialogue one night. And she was totally unprepared for my answer: I didn't care. Oh, I agreed: what 2 consenting adults did in private was their own business. But she could never answer my question back to her: If what 2 consenting adults do in private is their business and no one elses, why did she want to make it my business now?


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.

More political grandstanding by City Council! These Councilpersons who introduced this will no doubt get a Golden Pandy Award. Their resolution is meaningless as the Shirvell-Armstrong drama is a dispute between two persons which will likely be resolved in a court of law. Whether Shirvell's conduct is protected by the First Amendment will be the call of a circuit judge. Worry about budget matters. Worry about police and fire cutbacks. Worry about geting the Stadium Bridge fixed before it collapses and someone is killed. Worry about giving aid to those Ann Arborites who are losing their homes in foreclosure as the county government has done. The irony of this is that both Shirvell and Armstrong are each developing a national persona over this story and do not need the City Council to fan the flames.

Terry Calhoun

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.

@EyeHeartA2: Yeah, I've run into the same mind reading problems :)

Terry Calhoun

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

@Dexterdriver: Most of the names people would recognize as Founding Fathers were not Christian. Most belonged to a church, of course, as churches were part of the culture. However, many of those were Deists who believed in a god that started creation off but that was not a personal god which would interfere in human affairs or immaturely insist on being worshipped. Many had very negative things to say about "religion," sometimes harsh things about Christian religions. George Washington, for example: "Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." Thomas Jefferson, in a very timely quote: "Priests...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live." And, of course, that wild man, Thomas Paine, you should read "The Age of Reason" some time: "Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity."

Terry Calhoun

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

EyeHeartA2, I'm just guessing, but I think that @Gabriel was probably trying to note that just a very few miles in most directions from Ann Arbor, there are some pretty regressive politics at play. I agree with that it doesn't work as a blanket statement for the entire state.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

Mr. Calhoun is on shaky ground when attempting to refer to the framers of the Constituition as somehow ancestral allies of the gay marriage push. These gentlemen were decidedly Christian, so guess what their feeling on homosexual marriage would be!

Terry Calhoun

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:04 p.m.

Mick52 wrote: "Apparently it's okay to bash the right but not the left." It's gays who are being tortured, deprived of their civil rights, and called all sorts of names by those who have chosen the right-wing "lifestyle" of fundamentalist Christian - whose main leaders are currently engaged in trying to give us a theocracy. Dexterdriver: The Constitution we all love was written as it was *precisely* so that when it came to matters like this, "most people" cannot impose their feelings on other people as laws.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 2:41 p.m.

Some who point to a perceived "gay agenda" may be stretching things a bit, but if what they object to is the push towards legal, officially sanctioned homosexual marriages, then they have a legitimate concern. It is quite clear that a majority of citizens, including the large population of California, do not favor such a change in the traditional, man-woman, approach to matrimony. All the little parades, council resolutions, angry finger pointing and other protests won't change the fact that most people do not believe in or want to sanctify gay marriage. Face the facts folks.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 2:30 p.m.

I am surprised that the council did not put together a task force to study this problem and make recommendations in six months. Why is it okay for council to bash Az over its immigration problem, but name aggressive panhandling by the homeless A2's number one problem? The two issues seem curiously similar, especially since some of the aggressive panhandlers are not from these parts. I agree with xmo. Apparently it's okay to bash the right but not the left. If you are an elected official you have to "man up" and take some criticism, not go to court and ask for the govt to silence a critic. Mr. Armstrong should not requesting a PPO, he should be requesting a stalking warrant. That will require a police investigation, review by the prosecutor, and court approval. That will sort out better if Mr Shirvell's actions rise to the level that should initiate govt control. Mr. Armstrong's position as a public figure is an interesting aspect to this issue. Does Mr. Armstrong need protection, or are we acting to protect his ideas by silencing a critic? Shirvell's rights to speak and peacably assemble have to be protected when considering limiting his shenanigans. Or, is it okay to silence a person when we disagree with what he says?


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 2:12 p.m.

Wait wait, there is an agenda? Really! Where? 'Cause if all *the gays* are having a meeting, I'd like to know what we're all supposed to be talking about. OH, and where is the meeting? @Tom, you think you are being treat intolerantly? Spend a little time with Mr. Armstrong when Mr. Shrivell gets back into action.

David Briegel

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:54 p.m.

Tom, Since you created your god in your own image, you get to tell everyone what your god says! The rest of us are here on Planet Earth in the state of Mich and the city of Ann Arbor with a pseudo-Christian stalker or bullyer whose behavior has been approved by the Atty Gen! Sandra, these are the "Christian" values of some memebers of the republican party. I remember when my minister taught me the words of Jesus. You remember, Hate thy neighbor as thyself!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

Tom, you actually know God's design? I've always believed that if something exists it is, by definition, part of God's design. I'm glad there has been so much support for Mr. Armstrong on this issue; more than the "gay agenda", we are talking about basic human rights.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:37 p.m.

Because of the local nature of this, I really don't have a problem with it. It's not like it happened in Arizona...


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:30 p.m.

@Tom basically what you think is the "Gay Agenda" is what the religiously judgmental think is wrong with homosexuality. They truly have no agenda other than being respected as human beings deserving of all rights all people receive. It infuriates me when people say that its some agenda. Homosexuality is a fact of life and it doesn't hurt anyone. It's time to get over it people. If you don't want to be called a bigot or intolerant for not accepting gays then just accept them and that kind of "name-calling" will stop. But until then the "name-calling" is really just speaking the truth about the backward thinking of the people who think there is some sort of agenda that homosexuals are trying to perpetuate.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:18 p.m.

@ Tom, god does not exist?

Terry Calhoun

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a wonderful place. We live on a dirt road about 6 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, but our last three miles home is a lovely dirt road. My wife and friends often walk their dogs "around the block" on Saturday mornings. With regard to comments by others regarding temperaments outside the city, I have the following anecdote about out here in the southwest territory. One day last spring, as they walked past a farm house, they found a cow wandering down the road. My wife walked up to the farm house and notified the woman who answered the door about the loose cow. After the woman thanked her, she said that she had lost one the previous year because "those darned Ayrabs in Detroit come out here and steal them." Countering her impulse to suggest that maybe the cow had wandered off - like the one just rescued - into the woods, or maybe hit by a car, and died, my wife got out of there quickly. A Walberg sign went up in front of that house two weeks ago.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:14 p.m.

@ EyeHeartA2, focus! You're off topic. And please don't try to compare A2 politics to Detroit's issues, which are all about basic survival.

Sandra Samons

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

So far, 55 comments, so adding anything is probably redundant, but I cannot remain silent. I simply do not understand why this isn't an abundantly clear issue of illegal stalking, but if it doesn't qualify under legal guidelines, then it is unarguably bullying and I cannot understand why anyone would feel it is acceptable, much less for someone with the power of attorney general's office behind him attacking a student. No wonder we need a law against bullying, when so many people don't seem to have a value system to tell them it is wrong. I have strong feelings about discrimination and hate, but this seems to me to be an even simpler matter of abiding by the law and of basic citizenship.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

What is the gay agenda? Simply to discourage and then forcably prevent everyone from holding an opinion different from their own when it come to human sexuality, morality and the defintion of marriage. (But this is only the beginning.) According to the gay agenda, the discussion is over concerning homosexuality (kind of like the gobal warming discussion). Now anyone suspected of not being in 100% support of the gay agenda will be dealt with "by any means necessary" to force compliance. If they can find a way to force you out of your job, definetely. They will harass, insult, name call, bring legal action-the list goes on. More to the point, hetersexual sex and sodomy have to be given equal standing, even though hetersexual sex brings life and a future and sodomy brings nothing good. In the end, this is all really a repudiation of God by rejecting His design.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

Hey, out of the whole St. of MI, I live in Ann Arbor because Mayor John Hieftje, U of M, and A2 City Council and their long history of Human LGBT Rights in the city. It's cool to be against Discrimination!

David Briegel

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

Stephen, "the Republican Party". The Republican Party's position on Mike Cox and Andrew Shirvell..................................................................................... The Silence Is Deafening! Thank you A2 City Council for filling this leadership vacuum!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:44 a.m.

Let's all stand up and cheer for Ann Arbor.. for we are so tolerant anc accepting.. we feel sogood about ourselves... lets all go down to Starbucks and sip on our lattes, and feel the love. Truth be known, I am so glad I no longer reside in this 8 square mile piece of land surrounded by reality.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:23 a.m.

@David Briegel What did I write that leads you to believe that I either approve of Mr. Shirvell's actions or believe this has anything to do with GOP candidates? I have no particular problem with the resolution (I don't oppose it, but think it unnecessary), but I do question the need for "feel good" legislation that won't make crimes any more criminal nor make anyone safer. In my opinion we lose victims' equality when we set up special laws like "hate crime" laws. I prefer to believe that a stalking crime or an assault is just as illegal and repugnant when conducted against an LGBTQ person as against anyone else -- the victims are equal; equally important, equally valuable.

Terry Calhoun

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:16 a.m.

See the conservatives and those who have chosen the "fundamentalist lifestyle" wriggle as they try to pretend this is none of the city's business. Watch them call 911 the first time anything remotely similar happens to them. Quite amusing.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

I have to agree with the posters who state that this is a different "kind" of resolution than the one having to do with Islam. This is an Ann Arbor specific problem in response to incidents within our borders, and this council action may help force Shirvell out of his job. Other resolutions/proclamations about national issues really don't belong in a mid-sized city. And they do replace time that councilmembers should be spending on other matters in my opinion.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

"Finally a City Council resolution that doesn't make me roll my eyes!" really, b/c it made me roll my eyes perhaps the city can pass a resolution to stop passing resolutions.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:35 a.m.

To be expected but well placed anyway. The guy needs to go and leave this state.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Why wouldn't this be appropirate? U of M is within the city limits, Armstrong lives here while a student and the stalking activities took place on public sidewalks. How more relevant can it get. I'm tired of hearing people say this is a waste of time, keeping people safe is the top priority.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:20 a.m.

I think this required a statement of the elected representation of the City of Ann Arbor because 1. The attacker is a state employee paid for by our tax dollars 2. The attacker is part of the Attorney General's Office. 3. The victim is a citizen of Ann Arbor. 4. The victim represents the student body at U-M. There are times when the elected body needs to speak for the majority of citizens and in this case....job well done.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:17 a.m.

OK folks, first of all, all city governments issues their fair share of symbolic pronouncements. It's perfectly appropriate when it involves citizens of the city. Second, this is good for the city's reputation nationally. People in other parts of the country aren't really paying close attention. They just see something like "College student harassed by lawyer for being gay in Ann Arbor." If it's also clear that the city power structure is actively condemning such harassment, it reassures people that Ann Arbor is a good place to visit, do business, etc, because they know the city doesn't stand for this kind of--stuff.

David Briegel

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:14 a.m.

Ian and Stephen, The Republican Party, the Repudiated Republican candidate for Gov and current Republican Atty Gen, have made fools of themselves and simultaneously our entire state govt. The simple fact is that they approve of "stalking for Jesus"! While Jesus would most likely express the appropriate shame!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

@David Briegel, my comment was meant merely in an anecdotal context. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that outside of A2, most of Michigan is still a conservative backwater.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

"I have a feeling that there are a group of people that will always complain about anything the city council does because their candidate didnt win." Nope. My candidate DID win, and then despite having shown pre-election promise to the contrary, turned out to be EXACTLY like all the others. That's why I continue to complain...


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:39 a.m.

Although i opposed the city council weighing in on arizonas immigration policies ( which should be a federal matter) and islamophobia ( locally more potential than real, and ignoring the one real local case of antisemitic religious harassment) this is an appopriate gesture, since armstrong and his role on the UM campus, are local..


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

@dexterdriver - thank goodness that we do not reflect the rest of the nation. Instead, Ann Arbor is considered one of the smartest cities in the country. Do you live in Ann Arbor dexterdriver?

Stephen Landes

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

The resolution doesn't bother me, but the suggestion that we need additional "hate crimes legislation" does. In my opinion it is not more significant or deplorable to bully, harass, or attack someone for being gay or lesbian than it is if they are fat, thin, black, Latino, rich, left-wing, or conservative: threatening or abusive behavior is simply that in all cases. If Mr. Shirvell's actions are abusive or threatening we already have laws that deal with it: adding law won't make the behavior worse or Mr. Armstrong safer. I think what the LGBT folks are looking for is another way to make their case more public; pushing for special legislation could do that. I recommend finding another way to do that and make sure that the abuses they suffer are considered by the public and the legal system to be EQUAL to those suffered by any other citizen.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

This is why I love Ann Arbor. I support the city councils choice in publicly letting everyone know that Ann Arbor does not tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of how Mike Cox advertised to the nation that Michigan is tolerant of it. Since living in Ann Arbor, I do not feel that it is like the rest of Michigan and very grateful for this. I have a feeling that there are a group of people that will always complain about anything the city council does because their candidate didnt win.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

Here we go again. The council of the Berkeley of the Midwest speaks out. What next, declare that Ann Arbor is a "sanctuary city" for the criminal illegal aliens flooding our area? Luckily, this leftist agenda is an anachronism these days, not reflective of the majority thinking in America.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

@Leslie, Both Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck came out after the election, so Nancy gets credit for being the first openly gay elected official, followed shortly by Jerry. But historically the larger "first" was being ELECTED as an openly gay individual. Naytheless, it is a first that could have been included.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

@speechless, "Their lashing out against the idea of equal rights becomes a bit more open." Please. It is not about lashing out against equal rights. Do not try to twist the reasons why some of us do not believe AA city should be involved in picking sides on personal matters between two grown men. Stay out of people's personal matters. AA city made a fool of themselves when they sided with the Feds over Arizona. If they had to pick sides, they should have sided with Arizona since all they are trying to do is uphold the existing federal laws and protect their residents. Over 70% of Arizonians support the laws. Why was it AA city's business to condemn Arizona? Same with this issue. It just shows the bias of the city council when they should be objective and fair. Best thing to do is stay out of issues like this that have nothing to do with the city and do what we elected them to do.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:03 a.m.

A lot of people throw the phrase "gay agenda" around...I seriously have no idea what the hell they mean. It seems like a stupid perjorative to excuse their bigotry. Gay people dont have any "agenda." All they want are the same rights afforded to other tax-paying citizens. If gays arent good enough to get equal rights, then at least absolve them from paying taxes.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

City Council has been busy passing resolutions to tell the world that it is for good and against evil on a variety of issues. This one, unlike a couple of previous ones, has the merit that it deals with something that actually happened in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

I can hardly wait for the AA city council to pass a resolution that supports openly conservative residents. They seem to be the only group that it is OK to degrade,slander, make fun of, and bully.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

Congratulations to city council for stepping forward to offer support. This affirmation of equal rights did not dissolve into a Saline solution. And it is fun to watch religious fundamentalists gnash teeth over this one, since they're unable to apply their favorite excuse for condemning city council resolutions. This has not been driven by recent, ugly events in other locales like Arizona or Manhattan, but instead by a series of strange actions initiated right here in Tree Town by a staff member of the state's AG office. Hence, their struggle to concoct new rationalizations to justify opposition, which has already brought an underlying resentment closer to the surface. Their lashing out against the idea of equal rights becomes a bit more open.

David Briegel

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

Gabriel, Actually, Michigan is the place for homophobes and bigots. They have been given cover by the top law enforcement officer in our state and a political party that seems to welcome them. Alan Benard, "heads spinning around like plates", indeed!

Steve Bean

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

For those Ann Arborites who might choose to base their vote for mayor in part on this matter, you can know that as mayor I would have supported this resolution and will support similar efforts by our local government to reaffirm the rights and safety of our citizens when appropriate. My thanks to all involved. Steve Bean Independent candidate for mayor


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

"He (Chris Armstrong) has been targeted precisely because he is a leader, and an out gay leader," Wilson said. "When Chris is targeted, we're all targeted."" Can we infer from this comment that when Andrew Shirvell is targeted - well that's OK because we don't agree with him? You see when you oppose the "gay agenda"- "the man comes and take you away". These people know nothing of tolerance, let alone love. Their motto is "Conform or we will crush you!"


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

I really don't believe that City Council went far enough with their resolution and support of Mr, Armstrong. I believe that they should have pointed out the special behaviors, personality characteristics, and innovative proclivities that demonstrate why he is at the forefront of the gay, lesbian, trans, etc. community. Only then will we be able to put Mr. Armstrong on the pedestal he deserves.

Leslie Morris

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:17 a.m.

Sandi's resolution language missed a bit of Ann Arbor gay history. Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGriek, both of the Human Rights Party, were elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in April, 1972. That was the first City Council election after U. of M. students, following a court fight, won the right to vote in their college town (where they spent the majority of the year). That was also the year that the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18. Almost all the students chose to register here, and most voted for the Human Rights Party candidates. Both Nancy and Jerry were gay. (I am not sure of the spelling of Jerry's name.)


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

Although I'm not a big fan of these city council resolutions, I DO think this helps reinforce the message out there to creeps like Shirvell that their actions won't be tolerated. It baffles me that the guy still has a job. Cox is really showing his true colors in this affair, and they ain't pretty. Like I said on a previous post, in the future, I wouldn't vote for Cox for dogcatcher.

Steve Pepple

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

An inappropriate comment and a comment responding to it from another reader have been removed.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:47 a.m.

LOL @ Lindsay Lohan comment! Too bad LGBT History Month only has 12 days left to celebrate, at least next year there will be the full month. The teen suicides are serious, but they get buried in this fluff.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

"The Council also officially establishing November as Minivan History Month in Ann Arbor. This was done to honor the many contributions minivans have made to the grocery transport and child soccer playing community."

Alan Benard

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:41 a.m.

I voted properly for mayor. I will just sit back and enjoy the far-right libertarians and other homophobes' heads spinning around like plates on the Ed Sullivan Show.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:36 a.m.

I want to congratulate Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Chris Armstrong for reading a proclamation into the record officially establishing October as LGBT History Month in Ann Arbor! Assistant State Attorney General Andrew Shirvell should apologize publicly to Mr. Armstrong for his words of intolerance and hate. Michigan is not a place for bigots! Finally, to Council Member Sandi Smith, bless you!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:36 a.m.

A low hanging fruit resolution that allowed the city council members an oppottunity to show their political courage, or lack there of that just wasted time and money. You would think that there were real issues that the city council actually has an impact on that the time and resources could of been spent on that impact the voting, tax paying, residents of the city. If this is the most important piece of business the city council has time and resources for, then we are either in a lot better shape than they claim or we are really in a lot of trouble.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

Wow, Shrivell must really be worried now...


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:20 a.m.

Why does the AA city feel that they have to be involved in a dispute between two grown men and take sides? Don't they have anything better to do? They also took sides in the Arizona immigration issue and sided with the Feds. Even though the Arizona law is IDENTICAL to the federal law dealing with illegal immigration. All Arizona is doing is enforcing the laws the Feds refuse to enforce. Also to protect it's residents from all the drugs and kidnapping by the drug trade. AA city sided with the Feds to allow in ILLEGAL immigrants. We have legal means to allow in immigrants. AA city should stick to city matters.

Steve Pepple

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:11 a.m.

A comment attacking another commenter was removed. Please make your point without making disparaging remarks about people you disagree with.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 7:02 a.m.

LOL @ Ignatz. The city council isn't protecting anyone.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Thought I'm sure there are other matters that many feel are more important than this stance, the City is doing it's job sticking up for those who reside within its bounderies. The job of governemnt is first and foremost to protect the citizens.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 6:53 a.m.

Now if the city council will let us know how they feel about Lindsay Lohan we will be complete.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 6:42 a.m.

@racerx: I don't expect to change your mind on anything but Mr. Armstrong is a resident of the city, head of the student government at the University in this city. Mr. Shrivell's attacks are based way beyond Mr. Armstrong as an individual more because he belongs to a class of individuals that are represented and respected in this city. Not quite a waste of time. At least not when you compare it the time they spent on say the chicken ordinance or the "community standards" dictates on where you can keep your garbage can.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 6:35 a.m.

Well once again, City Hall is on fire and the Council is looking for marshmallows.

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 6:01 a.m.

Finally a City Council resolution that doesn't make me roll my eyes!

Basic Bob

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

This is what this mayor and city council do best. They make statements on public issues unrelated to city government. They need to focus!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 5:46 a.m.

The issue of Gay Rights not withstanding, but, what does the city of Ann Arbor have to do with this dispute between the two indiviuals? What a waste of time for the city to even waste time on this.