Protesters are planning a rally tonight outside the Troy, Mich., city hall to protest anti-gay remarks made by Mayor Janice Daniels.
Daniels, the newly-elected mayor of one of Detroit’s biggest and most cosmopolitan suburbs, is under fire for making vulgar remarks about gays on her Facebook page. A Tea Party supporter elected last month, she posted a status report in June saying: “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”
The post, which has since been deleted, came a day after New York legislators voted to allow gay marriage in their state. The Daniels comments, just made public last week, have since gone viral on the web and caused a firestorm in Michigan.
Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey, Michigan’s first openly gay mayor, told ABC News that Daniels should immediately apologize: “I was incredibly disappointed. It goes against what a lot of us have been working on, which is to make southeast Michigan a lot more accepting and embracing of our diversity.”
Covey, a former mayor of nearby Ferndale, fears the Daniels controversy could harm business in Troy, home to upscale shopping malls and several large companies.
Denise Brogan-Kator, executive director of the gay rights organization Equality Michigan, told ABC News: “I was shocked. I was appalled. The choice of language underscores an inherent bigotry that manifests itself in discrimination. ”
Mayor Daniels didn’t respond to requests for comment by ABC News.
A Michigan news site, MLive.com, quoted Daniels saying she “probably shouldn’t have used that language,” but believes “marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
But Equality Michigan’s executive director insists Daniels’ position on gay marriage is not the issue. Said Brogan-Kator: “My objection to it is the way she characterized her speech. She was going to throw something away because ‘queers’ could marry. She chose the word ‘queers’ for a reason, to degrade the gay and transgender population.”