LGBT — April 2, 2014 at 8:19 am

Ypsilanti Township woman married during repeal of Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban becomes a victim of hate crime assault


This shall not deter our fight

An Ypsilanti Township woman who was married during the 24-hour window when same-sex marriage was legal in Michigan a week and a half ago was assaulted on Monday, the victim of an anti-gay hate crime. The day of unbounded joy was, apparently, a catalyst for brimming hatred to overflow into the tragically violent attack.

The woman told investigators she got off the bus in the area and was walking home through an apartment parking lot. Three men approached her, with one of them using a homophobic slur, calling her a derogatory name for a woman and asking her if she had recently been on the news.

A man then punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground and causing her to lose consciousness. When she woke up, one of the men was kicking her in the torso.

The men then fled from the area on foot. One of the men is described as white, 5-feet-10 inches to 5-feet-11 inches tall, heavy set and with a low or husky voice. The other two men could not be identified.

If you have ANY information that could help law enforcement agencies to apprehend the attackers and bring them to justice, PLEASE call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office’s anonymous tip line at 734-973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587). It is vitally important that these vicious men not be allowed to escape without punishment.

This attack makes me profoundly sad. The joy and happiness that Anne and I saw that day, both in the faces of the men and women who were finally allowed to marry, many after decades of partnership, as well as their families, friends, and loved ones is hard to describe. It’s rare to see so many weddings happening in such a short span of time and the outpouring of support and love for those who were married that day was heart-warming on a level I have rarely experienced.

It’s unfathomable to me that this joy provided the impetus for anger and hatred and violence. The perpetrators of this hate crime have black souls that are incapable of truly enjoying the human experience of love. My heart is broken for the woman who was the victim of their evil and I vow to never let such a vile act of hatred deter me from fighting with everything I have to ensure that ALL Michiganders have the right to love and marry whomever they wish. It’s part and parcel of “the pursuit of happiness” that all Americans enjoy as a constitutionally-protected right.

Hate crimes against the LGBT community are a continuing problem, largely because Michigan law does not protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender individuals as a minority group. If the attack had been against an African American woman and motivated by racism, it would be classified as a hate crime. In Michigan, this woman is not offered that same protection. Updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (pdf) in Michigan is as critical as ending our ban on same-sex marriage and ensuring that all of our citizens enjoy marriage equality.

Please, if you can assist in bringing these hateful criminals to justice, call the law enforcement authorities immediately.

Thank you.

[Marriage equality graphic courtesy of Equality Michigan]