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Gay Michigan Woman Who Married on TV Assaulted in Suspected Hate Crime

“Hey b----. Are you that (anti-gay slur) from the news?” one of three alleged assailants asked before punching a woman and knocking her to the ground unconscious.

A Michigan lesbian whose marriage to her partner was televised on a local news station was assaulted as she was walking home Monday. Her assailants allegedly referenced her marriage and punched her. (Patch file photo)
A Michigan lesbian whose marriage to her partner was televised on a local news station was assaulted as she was walking home Monday. Her assailants allegedly referenced her marriage and punched her. (Patch file photo)

A Michigan woman who married her partner in a televised ceremony after a federal judge overturned the state ban on gay marriage was assaulted Monday in a crime authorities think was bias based.

The 28-year-old Ypsilanti Township woman was punched unconscious while trying to walk home after she got off the bus about 6 p.m., the Detroit Free Press reports.

She was walking through an apartment complex when she was approached by three men just before 6 p.m.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that one of the males stated, “Hey b----. Are you that (anti-gay slur) from the news?”

The woman and her wife were among the 300 gay Michigan couples who were able to marry during the brief 24 hour period between U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling declaring Michigan’s voter-backed ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stay putting the ruling on hold.

One of the other males reportedly punched her in the face, knocking her to ground and unconscious, according to the release. She came to, and one of the men kicked her in the torso.

The three men fled on foot.

The sheriff’s office described one of the suspects as a white man in his mid-20s, about 5-foot, 10-inches to 5-foot, 11-inches tall, heavyset and with a low or husky voice.

The victim could not identify the other two assailants.

Anyone with information on the attack on the Ypsilanti Township woman is encouraged to call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at (734) 973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).

'Surprised it Took this Long'

Yvonne Sifred, director of victim services for the LGBT advocacy group Equality Michigan, told the Free Press that she isn’t surprised at the violence.

“I was actually surprised it took this long,” she said.

Last year, Equality Michigan took about 100 reports of slurs and assaults against LGBT individuals. Sifred said the Ypsilanti woman’s account of what happened is not unusual.

“A lot of times, they are just slurs,” she said. “Unfortunately, when unchecked, people feel empowered by them and (get physical).”

Michigan doesn't have specific laws that protect LGBT individuals against bias crimes, Sifred said.

Amicus Brief Peppered with Derogatory Terms

This isn’t the first hint of bias in the nearly two weeks since Friedman ruled the voter-backed ban was a violation of the Due Process Clause in the 14th Amendment.

In a development last week, a group with ties to the white nationalist movement filed an amicus brief supporting Attorney General Bill Schuette’s appeal of Friedman’s ruling. Kyle Bristow, an attorney for the Traditionalist Youth Network, filed the briefpeppered derogatory language and included the statement:

"If a state cannot be permitted to define marriage as simply as constituting one man and one woman, then our culture will be taken down a very slippery slope that will see pedophiles, polygamists, zoophiles, those in incestuous relationships, and every other sexual deviant with proclivities now known or to be invented to challenge laws that, likewise, prevent them from marrying whom — what — they wish."

Schuette denounced the brief.

"There is no place in this discussion for derogatory language, and anything like it will be completely disregarded by the Department of Attorney General,” he said. “The Sixth Circuit should use this brief to line a birdcage, because that's all it's good for.”

Bristow has a long record of anti-gay activism. As a law school student at Michigan State University in the mid-2000s, he was a leader of the Young Americans for Freedom group that brought a series of controversial speakers to campus for a so-called “straight power” rally outside Lansing City Hall in 2006.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classified Bristow’s group as a hate group in 2010 after Bristow published “White Apocalypse,” a novel the described as “seething with lethal white supremacist revenge fantasies against Jewish professors, Latino and American Indian activists and staffers of a group clearly modeled on the SPLC.”
Dale Murrish April 08, 2014 at 05:45 PM
I never said gays cannot be Christians, Matt. There are some on both sides of the gay marriage issue who blog for the Gay Christian website (Ron and Justin). You can have your negative interpretation of what I wrote (keep your own counsel). Sorry you didn’t like my metaphor. I choose not to use marijuana; others can make their own choices. I choose to believe in Jesus and follow His instructions because I believe He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6); others can choose not to believe in Him or only follow some of His teachings – the ones they like. It’s a free country.
McGurk April 08, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Beth: You are correct. Unprovoked personal attacks are inappropriate. Particularly, against those who suffer from debilitating mental disease and delusion. However, and with all due respect; You, and the editors who preceded you have failed the community of Troy. Dale is a venomous individual with known weaknesses. He is an instigator of the utmost vulgarity. Any and all alleged attacks against him are of his own creation. In short, try harder. And look for the courage you currently lack.
McGurk April 08, 2014 at 06:23 PM
Dale: Your metaphor was disgusting, insulting and meant to be so. The only thing worse? You are pleased with yourself for that bit of scatilogical nonsense.
Daffy Noodnicks April 08, 2014 at 07:36 PM
Dale: you have more than implied that gay people who live a full and open life are not real Christians. They aren't the only ones you have denigrated in this way either. Are You trying to cover for your awful writing? It will not work. The intent with your metaphors are always clear. Nobody is confused. As mentioned before, there many other points of view than yours, or the two opinions I introduced you to at that website. Yours is no more important than anyone else's, no matter what labels you use. The way you run other people down only speaks volumes about you.
Daffy Noodnicks April 08, 2014 at 10:05 PM
And Dale,you weren't commenting on drug use, you were comparing the heartfelt religious convictions of other people to drug use, and manure consumption, as well as other demeaning language. It is the sort of intolerant speech you trade in, while pretending to innocently hide behind the Bible or whatever. No matter how you couch it, it's just lousy stuff to say about other people. And then you whine about intolerance when someone calls you on it.

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