Since April, Michigan’s assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell has been engaging in a bizarre internet campaign against Chris Armstrong, an openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan. Shirvell has attacked Armstrong’s “radical homosexual agenda” and has published posts on his blog “Chris Armstrong Watch” with photoshopped pictures of Armstrong with rainbow flags and swastikas.
On Tuesday, despite Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox’s efforts to defend Shirvell on First Amendment grounds, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission passed a resolution publicly condemning Shirvell and calling on Cox to support hate crimes legislation:
AND WHEREAS, such conduct should never be tolerated from anyone, let alone a public official responsible for representing all people equally.
AND WHEREAS, the Commission recognizes that the Attorney General is now taking disciplinary action, which the Commission hopes will result in the removal of this individual from an important public position. [...]
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Commission calls upon the Attorney General to immediately and publicly disclose the specific role(s) and responsibility(ies) of Assistant Attorney General Shirvell as it relates to the evaluation, execution and/or disposition of pending legislation, amicus briefs, and/or all other matters within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Attorney General, including but not limited to the issues of hate crime (bias motivated crime), bullying, and Elliott Larsen civil rights protections.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Commission calls upon the Attorney General as Michigan’s chief law enforcement officer to join with the Michigan Sheriffs Association, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Michigan State Police and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan in their support of the hate crime bill that has already been passed by the Michigan House of Representatives.
Shirvell, who “has been on administrative leave since late September and will face a discipline hearing upon his return,” has maintained the legitimacy of his campaign against Armstrong, saying, “I don’t have any hate in my body at all.”