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Gary Glenn and The Michigan Campaign for Families want to punish Holland City Council members who voted for anti-discrimination ordinance

June 20, 2011

Last week’s vote in Holland on an ordinance that would have included revised a non-discrimination ordinance to include “Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” was narrowly defeated by a 5 – 4 vote.

Within days of the vote it was reported that a well-known anti-gay organization was going to work on unseating 3 of the 4 Holland City Council members who voted for the ordinance to be revised. The Campaign for Michigan Families spokesperson Gary Glenn was quoted as saying:

Given the serious threat these discriminatory gay rights ordinances have proven to pose to religious freedom in other communities, pro-family residents of Holland can’t afford the risk that a single council member might be replaced or pressured to change his vote and allow such 
a dangerous policy to become law.”

Glenn then went on to say that his organization would provide financial support for candidates, which would like to defeat those who voted in favor of the ordinance.

The Press reporter in Saturday’s story referred to The Campaign for Michigan Families as connected with the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association and described this group as “pro-family.” On Sunday, the Press published another short article about Gary Glenn and The Campaign for Michigan Families who were responding to the claim that Holland residents who favored the ordinance were seeking a referendum so that the people of Holland could vote on the proposed ordinance.

In this second article Gary Glenn is referred to as an “anti-gay rights activist,” which is certainly more accurate than the previous article that described Glenn’s organization as “pro-family.” However, in both articles the Grand Rapids Press reporters do not elaborate on what Gary Glenn or the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association (AFA) actually stand for and what kind of campaigns they have been involved with in the past.

According to SourceWatch the AFA considers itself to be a fundamentalist Christian lobbyist group. The AFA has been involved in local and national campaigns against abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, deregulation of the oil industry and more recently the defeat of the Employee Free Choice Act. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the AFA as a hate group because of their use of hate speech to help drive the religious right’s anti-gay crusade.”

Indeed, Gary Glenn has a long history of attacking the LGBT community and going after candidates that are either identify as LGBT or support the LGBT community. For example, last year it was reported in a state House race in Michigan Gary Glenn was the voice on a robocall that attacked a lesbian candidate. In the robocall message Glenn used the word homosexual 10 times. Here is the robocall attacking candidate Toni Sessoms.

Gary Glenn was also involved in recent efforts to prevent any anti-bullying legislation in the state because Glenn believed it was a Trojan Horse for the gay community to imposed their agenda on everyone else.

“The homosexual activists are using the bullying issue, as you indicated, as a Trojan Horse. Their real objective is to establish in Michigan state law and in other states sexual orientation — i.e. homosexual behavior — and gender identity — i.e. cross-dressing — as the legal basis of rights and protections. So all we said was why do you insist on segregating students into these special protected class categories like sexual orientation and gender identity and then dole out protection against bullying expressly on the basis on a student’s membership in one of these protected classes, in other words, a segregation strategy.”

Lastly, it should be noted that at least two Ottawa County family foundations have donated money to the American Family Association. One is Jack and Mary DeWitt Foundation and the other to a much more significant degree is the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, which has funded numerous anti-gay campaigns in Michigan and around the country.

All of this information provides real context to the significance of the statement by Gary Glenn and The Campaign for Michigan Families, a context, which the GR Press fails to provide. If the community is to understand the players involved in these kinds of campaigns then it is extremely important to have as much background information as possible so that people can make well informed decisions about what to support and what to oppose.

Update: A link was sent to us with more details on who has provided funding to The Campaign for Michigan Families, specifically financial contributions in 2010.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. chanceofgay permalink
    June 20, 2011 4:53 pm

    We clearly saw the DeWitt money in play in this campaign as evidenced by the full-page hate mongering ad in the Holland Sentinel which was paid for by their company, Request Foods. Since Elsa Prince recently donated $400,000 to California’s anti-marriage equality ballot measure “Yes on 8,” it is reasonable to assume she would have an even greater interest in the outcome in her own hometown.

    At the city council meeting, the citizens who were in favor of passing the anti-discrimination ordinance clearly outnumbered those present who were in opposition. The fact that the ordinance failed in this kind of positive climate is another clear example of how a few wealthy/powerful citizens are continuing to institutionalize hate in our communities. It’s time for fair-minded people to raise the volume in response to this hate by saying, “Not here! Not now! Not toward anyone! This stops now.”

    Follow the work of “Holland is Ready” at

  2. John Smith permalink
    January 27, 2012 3:08 am

    Holy Shi# is this guy dangerous! Does Gary Glenn wear a white hood and robe too?


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