February hasn’t even ended, but anti-LGBTQ actions this month have prompted State Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) to dub it “bad” for LGBTQ Michiganders. Moss is referring first to the appointment of Bishop Ira Combs Jr. of Jackson to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. The Commission has eight members appointed by the governor who investigate civil rights complaints and recommend new laws to him.
Combs has a long history of anti-gay activity. He opposes same-sex marriage and ordinances banning LGBTQ discrimination. He fought against passage of the Jackson anti-discrimination ordinance last year. Combs told the Detroit Free Press that “the gays that are complaining” about his opposition to gay rights “are economically advantaged” earning more than most Americans.
Moss is also opposed to the practices of a Southeast Michigan Pastor, Jeremy Schossau of Metro City Church, who promotes what some are calling conversion therapy. Moss, along with other legislators, has moved to ban the practice in Michigan.
On Feb. 8, State Reps. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstone Township), Tim Sneller (D-Burton), Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) along with Moss, wrote a letter to Attorney General Bill Schuette to denounce the practice.
The letter’s goal is to discredit the validity of the workshops offered by Metro City Church and FORGE Ministries, which target their services to girls ages 12 to 16 “by birth” who feel that they might be “Trans — Bi — Gay or other” and charge $200 for attendance. The letter reads: “There is a long-standing consensus among our nation’s leading mental health experts, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, that these practices are extremely dangerous and often lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide.”
On Feb. 8, House Bill 5550 was introduced which would stop mental health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation and gender identity of minors. If Michigan were to pass this bill, it would be the 10th state to have laws against the practice of conversion therapy.
Moss, who is running for Michigan State Senate this year, said that both the appointment of Combs and the necessity of the bill is a “wake up call to all Michigan representatives that fight for equality.”
“The fight didn’t end in June 2015 with marriage equality,” Moss said. “People can change this if they vote for LGBTQ interests in 2018 based on which candidates support our community.”