Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Declared Unconstitutional

Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down as UnconstitutionalThe day that many Michigan residents have been waiting for has arrived. On March 21, 2014, after an 8 day trial, Federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman (a Reagan appointee) has declared the Michigan Marriage Act (MMA) unconstitutional. While the effect of the decision was stayed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 22, 2014, the opinion itself will be difficult to overturn. (more…)

A Field Guide to Grassroots Anti-Bullying Advocacy

How to Stop Bullying in Your SchoolBullying has been a hot topic for years. In 2011, President Obama began a nationwide campaign to end bullying in schools. And yet, the issue is still in the news. Last November, Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin left the team because of the abusive environment. Whether in the schools, the locker rooms, or the workplace, harassment is a serious problem best addressed at the local level. (more…)

Are Bloggers Entitled to Freedom of the Press?

Are Bloggers Entitled to Freedom of the Press?Where do you get your news? The newspaper, television, or an online news website? What about a blog or an opinion website? A debate has been brewing over whether bloggers and other online writers should be entitled to legal protections traditionally given to members of the press. Recently, one Court of Appeals ruled that it doesn’t matter, at least when it comes to defamation cases. (more…)

Department of Education Does a 180 on Zero Tolerance

School HallwayIn a recent announcement, the United States Departments of Education and Justice called on schools to cut back on suspensions and expulsions they once encouraged. Their requests are backed with the threat of Departmental investigations into districts whose policies negatively impact minorities. But what prompted the change? (more…)

Is the Education Achievement Authority a Good Thing for the State?

file261235839740Detroit’s Education Achievement Authority (EAA) has been in the news recently. The program that Governor Snyder put in place to aid low performing schools seems to be getting mixed reviews. And when a bill passed in the Michigan House of Representatives that could take the project state-wide, opponents began to get loud. So what is the EAA and why are Democrats so concerned? (more…)

What the Ferndale Marijuana Ordinance Does and Doesn’t Change

file6311270526402On November 5, 2013, 69% of Ferndale residents approved an ordinance that decriminalizes the possession, use, and transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana by someone at least 21 years old on private property. But as with all local ordinances, there is a question about what will actually change in the city. (more…)

Royal Oak, Federal Government Consider Employment Discrimination

1377017_534909036603247_882191193_nThe city of Royal Oak and the U.S. Senate both made important decisions last week to protect sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. But while the vote decided the issue in Royal Oak in favor of greater workplace protections, the federal bill has a long way to go. (more…)

Coming Out As An Ally For National Coming Out Day

file0001433602003My name is Lisa Schmidt, and I am an ally.

I have chosen to support my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender family and friends because, to me this issue is not, nor has it ever been about sex. It’s not about what happens behind closed bedroom doors or supposedly “immoral acts.” I support my friends in the LGBT community because I believe in fairness, justice and love. (more…)

Ferndale’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owners Head Back to Court

shutterstock_148237478When the trial court judge dismissed the charges against the owners of Ferndale’s medical marijuana dispensary, Clinical Relief, many breathed a sign of relief. But a Michigan Court of Appeals just reopened the prosecution of all 7 defendants in the case. Now it looks like Clinical Relief is going back to court.