AIDS Walk Detroit

September 5th, 2007

The OUTlaws are participating in this year’s “AIDS Walk Detroit”. The walk is to be held on Sunday, September 16. Registration begins at 8am and ends shortly thereafter. If you are interested, please email me and I will send you a link to our team page. My email is mayjoey77@yahoo.com (please do not reply to outlaws@wayne.edu) . I will be hosting a private “Thank You” party in my own home later in the fall for all those who contribute and/or walk.

Thank you for your time!

Joe Franco
Team Captain
Wayne – OUTlaws
AIDS Walk Detroit 2007

Hammer v. University of Michigan

August 29th, 2007

Contact: Michelle Fernandez, OUTlaws president: michellefernandez@wayne.edu
Peter Hammer, OUTlaws faculty sponsor: phammer@wayne.edu

DETROIT Wayne State University OUTlaws to sponsor a website posting court documents in Hammer v. University of Michiganhttp://wayneoutlaws.org/hammer_v_umich

The Wayne State University OUTlaws exists to promote an inclusive, open, and supportive community at the Law School through education, collaboration, advocacy, and social programming.

In Hammer v. University of Michigan, Peter Hammer charges the University of Michigan Law School with anti-gay discrimination. Professor Hammer is the first openly gay professor to be considered for tenure at the University of Michigan Law School, and the first man in the history of that institution to be denied tenure. By a secret vote, a minority of the Law School faculty blocked his promotion.

The Complaint alleges a simple breach of contract theory, predicated on representations of non-discrimination during pre-employment negotiations, as well as University policies and by-laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual-orientation. Rather than building an affirmative case that no discrimination took place, the University’s initial stance was to maintain that its by-laws and non-discrimination policies had no legal meaning and created no rights. The same University that had defended the value of diversity in the U.S. Supreme Court was now vigorously defending its legal right to discriminate on whatever basis it wanted.

The Law School has filed two Motions for Summary Disposition. Each of these was denied. The trial court ruled that Hammer had established a legitimate claim of discrimination and that a trial on the merits was warranted. The Law School sought leave for an interlocutory appeal, only to have its application vacated as improvidently granted. The Law School has now been afforded an unprecedented third opportunity to seek summary disposition. The University brief is due September 15, 2007.

By posting the publicly filed court documents in Hammer v. University of Michigan, The Wayne OUTlaws seek to highlight the often hidden face of LGBT discrimination in higher education. This litigation is also an important study of how private law can be used to combat LGBT discrimination.

Visit http://wayneoutlaws.org/hammer_v_umich to read more and to post your comments.

Questionable HIV Disclosure Contract Under Fire

August 28th, 2007

Between The Lines reports that Ingham County Health Department is “telling newly-diagnosed HIV-positive people they ‘need’ to sign a contract with the department.”

And that contract is under fire by leading HIV legal advocates who reviewed it and said the contract is in violation of state law. The contract states the newly-infected person will notify past sexual partners within four weeks, and also acknowledges the person knows about the felony HIV disclosure law in Michigan.

“There is no requirement in the Michigan statute regarding HIV testing, requiring persons being tested to sign an agreement that they will inform their partners of their HIV status,” said Jay Kaplan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Any policy or practice telling people that they have to sign this agreement once they test positive is wrong and raises serious concerns.”

Update:

The ICHD, in responses to a 19-question BTL request, said the contract had been approved since 2001 by the MDCH HIV/AIDS Prevention and Intervention Section. But TJ Bulcholz, spokesperson for MDCH, said that is not true.

“Nobody at HAPIS approved that contract,” Bulcholz said. “Secondly it is not a contract. That is too strong of a word. It’s an agreement that people will follow the law. And the County needs to change the language to reflect that, in our opinion, if they are going to continue to use this.

Bulcholz said the law is already clear that a person infected with HIV had certain responsibilities, and the contract was a “social contract” and “unnecessary.”

Triangle Foundation Searches for Witnesses and Offers Increased Reward

April 12th, 2007

Triangle Foundation is working to find witnesses in the murder of 72-year-old, openly-gay Detroiter Andrew Anthos:

Canvassers will talk with Andrew’s neighbors and with people at the bus stop near his home, asking if anyone saw anything the evening Andrew was attacked.

Our canvassers will be able to offer witnesses a powerful incentive. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has increased their reward from $5,000 to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Andrew’s murder.

“The Detroit Police never really investigated this case,” said Melissa Pope, JD, Director of Victims Services. “Since they haven’t, we will. We are committed to obtaining justice for Andrew and his family.”

There are three ways you can help us pursue justice for Andrew Anthos and his family:

1. If you live in the area of Gratiot and Jefferson, east of Downtown Detroit or you ride the busses in that area, visit our Web site for a poster of the current suspect in this case. Print a few copies and put them up around town.

2. If you know people who live in that area of the city, forward this message to them.

3. Make a donation to Triangle Foundation to help us carry on this work.

Safe Schools

April 11th, 2007

Between the Lines reports success in lobbying the Michigan House to pass legislation requiring schools to adopt anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies. The legislation now moves to the Michigan Senate where its fate is uncertain. The conservative opposition is telling. They oppose such legislation, apparently, because it could help LGBT children. And yes, the legislation would help protect those kids from harassment in school but it doesn’t stop there. It would protect all children from bullying and harassment: the Jewish kid, the Catholic kid, or the just plain odd kid. The legislation will now be referred to the Senate Education committee. Unfortunately the chair of that committee, Sen. Wayne Kuippers, is on record opposing anti-bullying legislation.

April 2007 Gay & Lesbian Law Notes

April 10th, 2007

April 2007 Gay & Lesbian Law Notes are available here.

New Host and Blog Software

April 10th, 2007

I finally moved the Wayne Outlaws website to a new hosting company. Previously I hosted it myself but I no longer have sufficient bandwidth. I also changed to different blog software.