Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Tale of Two Attorneys General

Last week, TEP intercepted a message from David Fowler alerting the followers of his Family Action Council of Tennessee to contact Tennessee's Attorney General Bob Cooper about signing an anti-gay and anti-family amicus brief for the Proposition 8 case making its way through the Ninth District Court of Appeals. FACT abandoned it's pro-state's rights position in favor of Tennessee's Attorney General interfering in the affairs of the State of California (Tennessee is part of the Sixth District Court of Appeals).

David Fowler was a vocal opponent of marriage equality when Tennesseans voted in 2006 to amend the state's constitution to permanently eliminate the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Fowler's anti-gay and anti-family activism continues, but his attempt to re-victimize the LGBT citizens of Tennessee failed this time. General Cooper deserves credit for not bowing to pressure from Fowler and other anti-gay zealots who actively seek to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens. Cooper did not sign onto the brief. I'd like to think that TEP supporters swayed him, but I hear from those that know him that Cooper is a fair-minded official with a sense of balance in government.

This week we learned that the State of Michigan employs the kind of Assistant Attorney General that David Fowler might like to see holding office in Tennessee.

CNN's Anderson Cooper reports that Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell is cyber-stalking, blogging and protesting outside the home of the student assembly president of the University of Michigan - who happens to be gay. Shirvell accuses Student Body President Chris Armstrong of pursuing a "radical homosexual agenda" (aka, equal rights). Shirvell has actually posted pictures of the student with rainbow flags and swastikas, essentially calling Armstrong a gay Nazi. He regularly shows up waving signs at his home and attends student council hearing over which Armstrong presides. <Insert snarky comment about Shirvell being a closet case here.>

Shirvell's boss, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, said his assistant's opinions do not reflect those of the Michigan Department of Attorney General, and his "immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear." I hope this is true. But if this sort of behavior outside one's job is tolerated in a state employee in Michigan, perhaps Mr. Fowler would feel more at home there.

- Jonathan Cole

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