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Metro Detroit LGBT center hosts 100-day "rolling" hunger strike

Yesterday, Affirmations Lesbian/Gay Community Center in Ferndale began what they call a "rolling" hunger strike that will last until the general election in November.

Organizers say the 100-day event protests the "extreme anti-equality environment in Michigan" of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender population.

The hunger strike will be comprised of 24-hour shifts in which volunteers will refrain from eating or drinking anything but water. The strikers will be on display inside the front windows of the Affirmations building on 9 mile road.

Yesterday, David Garcia, Affirmations' executive director, told MLive that he wants to see heterosexual people help further the strike's mission:

"It is not enough to say you have a gay friend," [said] Garcia... "This is the civil rights battle of our time. Where is the straight community?"... "We're hungry for equality. We want it. We can taste it," Garcia said, explaining the symbolism of the strike. "All around the country we see states that are passing marriage laws. Where gay people can adopt. Where it will be against the law to fire folks. But not here."

The campaign takes issue with laws in Michigan that prevent same sex couples from getting married, adopting children, obtaining partner benefits for public employees, and laws that allow job and housing discrimination in some Michigan cities.

An Affirmations press release about the strike says the event will feature an “Equality Rights Hall of Shame” list which they say includes the top six anti-equality politicians in Michigan:

The list features Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville; House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall; Troy Mayor Janice Daniels; Attorney General Bill Schutte; Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester; the conservative majority of the Michigan Supreme Court and Gary Glenn, former Senate candidate and president of the American Family Association.

Strikers may serve in multiple 24-hour shifts over the course of the 100 days, though one day is the maximum consecutive amount of time they will abstain from eating.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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