City Pulls Tax-Funded Homosexual Stickers
July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM
(CNSNews.com) - Officials in Traverse City, Michigan on Tuesday reversed a decision to allow rainbow-colored stickers symbolizing homosexual advocacy on city vehicles after protests by family groups around the country.
The city attorney said by posting a bumper sticker on a public vehicle featuring the flag of a particular organization or movement, the city was opening itself up to demands by other groups to allow their symbols to be displayed on city vehicles.
The city manager accepted the attorney's recommendation and ordered the stickers be removed. The mayor told reporters he had been conned by those who advocated the sticker.
The saga began Dec. 19 when the city announced that rainbow-colored stickers would be placed on all city-owned vehicles, including police cars. City officials spent $2,500 to print 10,000 stickers, which they distributed without charge and urged citizens to display.
Officer David Leach, a patrolman and evidence technician who joined the Traverse City Police Department in 1971, became the first city employee to publicly protest the order.
Reaction from the public also was swift. Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said the city commission had "turned into an advertising agency for homosexual political advocates, and residents may decide it's time to take back T.C. from a handful of city officials intent on force-feeding the homosexual agenda down their throats."
Leach, known to fellow officers as a devout Christian, planned to testify Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the Traverse City commission when the city manager ordered the stickers removed. Before any public testimony was taken, the city attorney recommended and the city manager announced that the stickers would be removed from city vehicles.
"Now we are encouraging people to continue to contact city officials in defense of Dave Leach - who is due to retire in five months - to ensure that the city in no way engages in any kind of retribution against one of its employees who dared to speak out publicly in opposition to their initial decision," Glenn said.
Leach felt it was a violation of his religious principles to be required to drive a vehicle featuring the officially-recognized logo of the "gay pride flag."
"The ironic thing about it is in the state of Michigan, activity associated with homosexual behavior is still a violation of Michigan's criminal code, and the city was requiring law enforcement officers to drive cars featuring the official flag of a political movement that seeks to promote that kind of illegal behavior," Glenn said.
Leach could not be reached at press time. Glenn said: "I believe Dave Leach's courage in speaking out had a galvanizing impact on the situation because he was, to our knowledge, the only city employee who felt so strongly about the issue that he was willing to put his job and his pension potentially on the line to speak out against a decision by his superiors."
City officials logged 180 phone calls to the mayor's office on Thursday.