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November 17, 2009 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page 1
ren said.
"There should be equal protec-
tions for all of our citizens when
it comes to public accommoda-
tions, when it comes to employ-
ment, when it comes to housing,"
Warren said. "And the fact that
we still have some of our citizens
who are openly discriminated
against because of their appear-
ance, because of who they are or
who they love, I felt like the leg-
islature needed to take them to
While similar bills have been
introduced in the legislature in
the past, this marks the first time
a bill of this kind was passed by a
The fact that the bill passed on
with a bipartisan vote, indicates
increasing acceptance of Michi-
gan citizens in expanding gay
rights in the state, Warren said.
"I think people are starting to
just become much more aware
of these issues and there is some
change I think in public percep-
tion on these issues," Warren
said. "I think we've always been
hopeful something positive could
happen, that we're starting to see
a trend here in Michigan that peo-
ple are more supportive of being
inclusive in diversity."
Warren said including sexual
orientation in the Civil Rights
Act will help Michigan to retain a
more educated and talented work-
force, improving the economic
From Page 1
logical Sciences Department,
followed by Christine Geddes, a
research associate in the School
of Natural Resources and Envi-
David Masson, the attorney
representing the University,
began proceedings by questioning
Martin about McGee's past work
as a graduate student at the Uni-
versity and his involvement in the
research program. Masson asked
several questions about McGee's
numerous incomplete courses as
well as problems that allegedly
arose with McGee's involvement
on the research team.
Martin said he was concerned

condition of the state.
"We look across the country at
the cities that are doing the best
financially; the places in the coun-
try that are the strongest and it
really is conclusive that in diverse
places that have supportive poli-
cies like this," WAarren said.
She continued, "Right now
Michigan needs every advantage
as we try to rebuild our chal-
lenged economy. We need to have
every advantage that we can pos-
sibly get and to be known as a
welcoming state where you will
be treated equally and fairly is an
important thing for us to do eco-
nomically as well as morally."
The bill is likely to pass in the
Democrat-controlled House but
is not expected to be "warmly
received" by the Republican-
majority in the Senate, Rep. Mark
Meadows (D-East Lansing), chair
of the House Judiciary Commit-
tee, said.
The committee passed the bill
at a time when gay rights legis-
lation is making strides on both
the state and national level, said
Meadows, who also co-sponsored
the bill.
Last week President Barack
Obama signed a hate crimes bill
into law, and a city ordinance
banning discrimination based on
sexual orientation was passed in
Ann Arbor already has a city
ordinance prohibiting discrimi-
nation based on sexual orienta-
tion. The University of Michigan
has a non-discrimination policy
that includes sexual orienta-
McGee wouldn't be able to suc-
cessfully continue his course-
work at the University after he
did poorly in a fundamental class
and received an incomplete in an
extensive junior-level class.
Martin oversaw McGee's
appointment to Hartman's proj-
ect, in which McGee was only
permitted to work 10 hours a
week because of the incomplete.
While testifying before the
defense, Martin said he had two
major concerns with the research
lab. The first, he said, was Hart-
man's attachment to the lab.
"I thought he was taking it
too much to heart," Martin said.
"You have to take it seriously, but
he might have been taking too
much of his own time and effort
getting this lab up and going."

tion, gender identity and gender
Meadows said while hate
crimes based on sexual orienta-
tion discrimination are infre-
quent, it is an issue that needs to
be addressed.
"These are all issues that I
think we need to put behind us,"
Meadows said. "It's a rare cir-
cumstance where we have dis-
crimination based upon this, but
when it does happen, it deserves
public attention and it deserves
a penalty, so that's what the bill
provides and it's something that I
strongly support."
Agema said he also disagrees
with Byrnes's argument that
overturning the amendment will
help the economic condition of
the state.
"I don't think this is going to
help economic development,"
Agema said. "I think it might even
hurt (it), so basically it's against
the will of the people and quite
frankly, I disagree. I don't think
we should be doing that."
Agema added that the approv-
al of a same-sex marriage law in
Michigan would threaten the tra-
ditional family structure the state
is based on.
"I'm not for destroying the
basic family unit," Agema said.
"In my opinion, the most basic
form of, like I said, government
in the state of Michigan right now
(are) states with the family unit
and I think that hurts the fam-
ily when we give credence to that
In regards to the bill passed by
Martin said he was also con-
cerned with Hartman's frustra-
tion with McGee because McGee
"did not adhere to any schedule"
and Hartman "could not rely on
Geddes, who worked in aca-
demic human resources, took the
stand next. She testified about a
phone call she received Feb. 20,
2008 from McGee in which he
anonymously complained about
Hartman's behavior in the lab.
Geddes said McGee called her
again on Feb. 26, 2008 to tell her
that he was terminated from his
position. At this time, he dis-
closed his and Hartman's names.
Following Geddes's testimo-
ny, McGee took the stand for a
filal time, first to answer ques-
tions issued from his own attor-

the House Judiciary Committee,
which would add sexual orienta-
tion as a protected group when it
comes to hate crimes, Agema said
hate crimes shouldn't be treated
separately from other crimes.
"There shouldn't be special
punishments or special require-
ments or whatever for a particu-
lar group because the law has to
be equal, not for special people,"
Agema said. "It's a crime no mat-
ter who you are. So to pick a par-
ticular group out, once again,
you're showing favoritism to one
over others. I don't agree with
hate crimes at all, cause I think
all crimes are hate."
Agema said he expects the bill
to pass the House but to be reject-
ed by the Senate.
Other opponents of the bill
like Gary Glenn, president of the
American Family Association
of Michigan, think the anti-dis-
crimination legislation is biased
against individuals who do not
support gay rights.
"(It) should be opposed by the
legislature because it has a proven
track record of being used for dis-
criminating against and penaliz-
ing individuals who disagree with
homosexual behavior or cross-
dressing," Glenn said.
Glenn cited various instances
of this discrimination in which an
employee was fired for expressing
opposition to same-sex couples
because of his or her own reli-
gious beliefs.
In regard to Brynes's proposal
to overturn the ban on same-sex
marriage, Glenn said the policy
ney, Christine Green. She asked
McGee questions about his poor
academic performance in order
to give McGee the opportunity to
defend himself.
In her closing argument, Green
emphasized that because McGee
alleges he was fired because he
reported a suspected violation in
the laboratory, he should be pro-
tected under the Whistleblower
Protection Act, which protects
workers who report problems in
their work environment.
Green also said that since it's
virtually impossible for McGee
to find a job without additional
schooling, this incident robbed
McGee of the potential to find a
successful career in the future.
She added thdt"MtGee applied^
to almost 30, engineering firms,

pitch is nothing but "good politi-
cal theatre" and it is unlikely to
come up for a vote in the House.
The proposal, which would
have to pass by two-thirds of the
House and Senate, would then
have to be voted on in a general
election to be enacted into law.
Glenn said it is unlikely that legis-
lators would be willing to vote on
a bill of that nature so close to the
upcoming 2010 election.
But Jay Kaplan, LGBT legal
project staff attorney for the
American Civil Liberties Union of
Michigan, said the proposal needs
to be passed to expand gay rights
in the state, which are among the
worst in the country.
"(The 2004 amendment has)
been interpreted by the Supreme
Court as taking everything off
the table for gay couples," Kaplan
said. "It is one of the broadest of
the so-called marriage amend-
ments in the country. We're one
of the five worst states with our
It might be difficult to get the
proposal passed next year, Kaplan
said, because Michigan legislators
and citizens need to be educated
on the issue of same-sex marriage
The 2004 amendment also
prevents same-sex couples from
accessing domestic partner ben-
efits including health care, which
greatly restricts equal rights in
the state, according to Warren,
who also co-signed the bill.
Byrnes said although current
lawmakers are more forward-
thinking than the legislature that
none of which have yet replied to
his application.
"He has lost the career he
wanted to have," Green said.
"He's 54 years old now and has to
change course completely." -
Masson then made his closing
argument. He first focused on
the quality of McGee's work in
the lab and his inability to meet
various deadlines set by Hart-
Masson also asserted that
Hartman had already made the
decision to fire McGee long
before he discovered McGee had
reported the safety issues. Mas-
son said McGee was fired not
because of the complaints he
made, but because of his continu-
ous problems and lack of ability,
to meet deadlines in the work-

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 7
passed the 2004 amendment, it
will still be a challenge to pass
the proposal through the House
because it requires the two-thirds
vote to pass.
"I think we have a different
legislature now than there was
five years ago," Byrnes said. "I
think it tends to be somewhat
more progressive. I know that
it will be a challenge ...but that
doesn't mean it shouldn't be
brought to the attention of the
Warren said it's more likely that
the Civil Rights Act bill will pass
this year than the same-sex mar-
riage amendment as the amend-
ment requires two-thirds of the
vote in the legislature while pass-
ing the act only requires a major-
ity of the vote.
But despite the uphill battle,
Kaplan said the update to the
Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act is
also necessary to allow gay indi-
viduals the same rights as all citi-
Currently under state law, it
is legal to fire someone or refuse
to provide services to someone
because they are gay, bisexual or
transgender, according to Kaplan,
who has heard from many LGBT
individuals who have experienced
this discrimination.
"It would under civil rights
laws change discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation
and gender identity," Kaplan said.
"These categories are not covered
in our state ... Discrimination is
legal in Michigan. It's absolutely
essential. We need this."
In one of the final comments of
the day, Green used her rebuttal
to explain the strength McGee
demonstrated throughout the
"I think he is an individual who
has been through a lot of hurdles
and who can make it again," said
Green. "He was there in the pro-
gram and built the lab, that in all
probability no graduate student
should have been responsible
She said the lab was such a big
project and that in order to suc-
ceed with it, McGee at times had
to sacrifice his grades.
The jury is scheduled to return
to court to deliberate and decide
on a verdict in the case-at 9 a.m.
this morning.

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For Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
(March 21 to April 19)
Travel plans might be canceled or
delayed today. Furthermore, anything
having to do with higher education, pub-
lishing, the media, medicine or the law
could be suddenly sidetracked. Big
(April 20 to May 20)
Be very careful about other people's
wealth and possessions today, especially
if you're responsible for what other peo-
ple own. Some kind of untoward acci-
dent or theft could take place!
(May 21 to June 20)
Relationships with partners and close
friends are a bit dicey today. Either part-
ner (this includes you) could suddenly
explode or rebel about something. Yikes!
(June 21to July 22)
Computer crashes, power outages, fire
drills, canceled appointments and staff
shortages are some reasons this day
could go south in a New York minute. Be
on guard for sudden changes!
(July 23 to Aug. 22)
Parents should be extra vigilant about
their children today. Lovers should be
extra patient with each other. Vacation
plans might be canceled. Sports acci-
dents are likely. (It's that kinda day.)
(Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
Unexpected events might take place at
horne today. For starters, expected com-
pany might not show. On the other hand,
someone completely unexpected could
knock on your door!
(Sept. 23 toOct.22)
This is a mildly accident-prone day.
Therefore, slow down and take extra
time with everything you do. Don't push
the river.

(Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
Financial matters are unpredictable
today. You might find money;*youmight
lose money. You might break something
you own. Be careful.
(Nov. 22to Dec. 21)
You might be quite obsessed with
something that's unusual or unconven-
tional today. If you don't have the free-
dom to pursue what interests you, you'll
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(Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
You feel restless today. You have that
feeling that you're waiting for the other
shoe to drop. (Let's hope it's the same
size as the last one, then you'll have a
(Jan. 201to Feb. 18)
People are extremely independent
today. This is why you can expect a few
surprises when dealimg with others,
especially female acquaintances.
Someone might bite your head off.
(Feb. 19to March 20)
You feel unusually rebellious in your
relations with authority figures.-
bosses, parents, teachers. VIPs and the
police. It might be wise to zip your lip.
Better to be safe than sorry.
assured, charming, generous and force-
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humanitarian. A major change awaits
you in the year ahead.
Birthdate of: Margaret Atwood,
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