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MLive article on LGBT Equality report amplifies anti-gay voices

January 30, 2013

Yesterday, we posted a story about the new Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) report on LGBT equality in Michigan. We provided an overview of the report, which included current state policy, documented cases of discrimination, testimony from public hearings and recommendations.Picture 1

This morning MLive also reported on the new report and focused exclusively on just one aspect of the report, which is that LGBT discrimination is bad for Michigan’s economy.

In addition, the MLive story sought out comments from several sources. Besides comments from spokespersons from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the reporter talked to three independent sources, two that are opposed to LGBT equality and one in support.

The two anti-LGBT equality were cited first, beginning with Brian Burch, one of the five Holland City Council members who voted against recommendations from the Holland Community Relations Commission to include the LGBT community in the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Burch avoids talking about his denial of equality in Holland and instead redirects the conversation around the “brain drain” in Michigan. Burch, who is the lead PR person for ArtPrize, has defended his decision to vote against LGBT equality on numerous occasions since the June 2011 Holland City Council vote.

The other anti-LGBT equality source cited in the MLive article was James Muffett, president of Citizens for Traditional Values (CTV), a group that MLive identifies as “a conservative organization based in Lansing.”

Muffet is cited as saying, “Civil rights protections should include immutable characteristics that can’t be changed.” This is just code to mean that civil rights apply only to what their group believes as immutable characteristics, which for the CTV are heterosexual characteristics.

Citizens for Traditional values also believes that the US was founded on Christian principles and are strong advocates against women’s reproductive rights. In addition, CTV is a political action committee and has donated to rightwing and reactionary politicians and candidates.

It is not until the end of the very end of the MLive article that we read the only pro-LGBT comments from someone other than the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which was a spokesperson from Equality Michigan.

Besides providing limited information and no analysis of the MDCR report, MLive gives more prominence to anti-LGBT voices than those who support LGBT equality.

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