Firing of former Michigan Assistant Atty General for ‘hate speech’ upheld

Ruling states Andrew Shirvell engaged in 'physical and mental harassment of gay college student

Firing of former Michigan Assistant Atty General for ‘hate speech’ upheld
27 March 2012

A state hearing officer in Michigan ruled on Tuesday (27 March) that Andrew Shirvell, a one-time assistant attorney general for the state, was justly fired in 2010 for his harassment of a gay student leader.

William Hutchens of the Michigan Civil Service Commission said Shirvell engaged in 'hate speech' on a blog and 'physical and mental harassment' of then University of Michigan Student Body President Christopher Armstrong.

Shirvell was appealing his November 2010 firing by then-Attorney General Mike Cox for 'conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an assistant attorney general.'

Shirvell had been engaged in a one-man campaign against Armstrong, showing up at public events to condemn what he called Armstrong’s 'radical homosexual agenda.'

He also showed up at Armstrong's home three times – including once at 1:30 a.m., harassed Armstrong's friends as they were socializing, tried to get him fired from his job and posted online attacks about the student.

Shirvell maintained that his conduct was protected by the First Amendment.

But at the time of Shirvell's firing, Cox explicitly said was was not firing him for expressing himself. Instead, he was firing Shirvell for repeatedly violating office policies, engaging in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately using state resources.

In upholding the firing, Hutchens said Shirvell's actions put the Attorney General's office in a bad light and could have discouraged people from working there.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Anderson Cooper would love the chance to talk to his father again

'To just hear his voice, to see his smile ... For me, that would be an extraordinary thing'
No thumbnail available

Leelah Alcorn's mother threw away handwritten suicide note: 'I've had enough'

Report officially rules transgender teen's death a suicide
No thumbnail available

Good Morning America's Sam Champion to marry husband again this weekend

Miami ceremony to be performed by MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts
No thumbnail available

Rick Santorum says he's 'praying' for Dan Savage

Says of LGBT activist/columnist: 'He obviously has some serious issues'
No thumbnail available

BBC denies censoring gay Muslim debate

After a question was asked on BBC3's Free Speech debate show about being gay and Muslim, presenter Rick Edwards said the mosque where the show was being filmed had concerns with that discussion
No thumbnail available

Sandi Toksvig starts her own political party to fight for equality

Ahead of the UK election, lesbian comic announces she is the founder of a new feminist party
No thumbnail available

Lesbian found guilty for faking anti-gay hate crime

Nebraska woman who claimed three masked men carved anti-gay slurs into her stomach and arms says she's innocent
No thumbnail available

Attenborough wildlife shows criticized for leaving out gay animals

A study carried out by The University of East Anglia in England has found BBC wildlife shows hosted by Sir David Attenborough do not present enough 'alternative views of animal behavior'
No thumbnail available

Inside the world of China's trans sex workers

China is changing for the better for the gay community, but trans people are still marginalized. Tingting Shen of Asia Catalyst reveals more
No thumbnail available

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley touts gay marriage bill

Says measure he introduced this week protects religious freedom