The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Michigan State House Candidate is Hard-Line Anti-Gay Activist

By Keegan Hankes on August 1, 2013 - 4:50 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT
Gary GlennGary Glenn leads of one of the nation’s most vicious anti-gay hate groups

Gary Glenn, who announced earlier this week that he is seeking the Republican nomination for the 98th district of the Michigan House of Representatives, says nothing whatsoever about LGBT people on his campaign website. But the reality is that he is the state leader of one of the nation’s most vicious anti-gay hate groups.

Glenn’s platform, as described on his campaign site, is conservative but not radical. He wants to defend Michigan’s right-to-work law, prevent the implementation of “Obamacare,” and reform the educational system. Glenn neglects to mention his decade-plus history of hardline anti-gay work, and he makes no reference at all to his position as president of the American Family Association of Michigan.

The American Family Association (AFA), headquartered in Tupelo, Miss., is not some ordinary conservative Christian group that is critical of homosexuality or same-sex marriage. After it was started in 1977, it was widely criticized after its founder suggested that obscene media content is largely due to Jewish control of the press and Hollywood. In recent years, it has become even more openly vicious. The AFA’s spokesmen have argued that “homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler … the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews”; that gay men molest children at vastly higher rates that others; that President Obama “nurtures a hatred for the white man”; that welfare incentivizes black people who “rut like rabbits”; and that Muslims in America “have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.”

Each of these claims is entirely false, which is why the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed AFA as an anti-gay hate group since 2010.

For his part, Glenn seems perfectly at home as a state AFA leader. In 2001, he compared homosexuality to smoking, saying, “As with smoking, homosexual behavior’s ‘second hand’ effects threat public health. … Thus, individuals who choose to engage in homosexual behavior threaten not only their own lives, but the lives of the general population.” He made a similar claim in a 2013 film released by Janet Folger-Porter, an anti-gay activist with Faith 2 Action, where he said gay sex will “make them [gay people] die earlier.” And he has supported the criminalization of homosexuality, saying in 2010 that states should be able to ban behavior “that’s a violation of community standards and a proven threat to public health and safety.”

In a 2011 interview with Linda Harvey of Mission:America (SPLC also lists Mission:America as an anti-gay hate group), Glenn seemed to suggest that employers shouldn’t hire LGBT people: “What ridiculous folly to suggest that only those individuals who engage in homosexual behavior given all of its severe medical consequences constitute the best and the brightest.” He later backpedaled, claiming he wasn’t saying gay people shouldn’t be hired, just that they aren’t the “best and brightest” employees because they engage in homosexual behavior.

Glenn also was an instrumental leader in the fight for Michigan’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which was approved by voters in 2004. The initiative defined marriage as “the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” In 2010, Glenn was among the plaintiffs in the Thomas More Law Center’s lawsuit against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, suggesting against all the evidence that including protections for LGBT people would “criminalize the Bible.” And he fought against school anti-bullying programs last year, saying that they were really only meant to further the “homosexual agenda.”

The 98th district statehouse seat in Michigan is currently held by Rep. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), who cannot run again due to term limits. A victory in the Republican primary would give Glenn a strong chance at going on to win the general election in 2014, given the district’s heavy Republican tilt. But Glenn may now be downplaying his anti-gay activism because of his experience last year, when he unsuccessfully campaigned for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. He lost in the primary to Pete Hoekstra, who was in turn defeated by Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

Even as his new political campaign gets rolling, Glenn has been fighting an anti-discrimination ordinance in Greenville, Mich., that protects LGBT people from employment and housing discrimination. But this and any reference to the rest of Glenn’s anti-gay advocacy is entirely absent from his campaign website. There is, however, a clue. Featured prominently on the site is an endorsement from Dave Agema, a Republican National Committeeman who made headlines this April after calling homosexuality a “filthy lifestyle” akin to alcoholism.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Grumpy Straight Guy, you would probably be a little less “grumpy” if you’d lighten up, and stop being ruled by your paranoia and fear.

    One “family friendly city?” Please, show me a time when your local newspapers were not full of stories about crime and violence. Go back in the 20th and 19th centuries as far as you like.

    Is a gay family that raises its kids with love and encouragement far worse than a straight family of alcoholics who raise their kids with violence and fear?

  • http://SPLC Stephen A

    It’s very scary to me when a person like Gary Glenn is running for a seat in a legitimate governing body. In this case the Michigan House. Could be the United States House of Representatives next. Who knows how far this guy could go? With all the gerrymandering of districts in many states (including my own state) anything is possible. However, on a more positive note; how probable, statistically speaking, will the success rate of these types of people be?

  • supersonic250

    Grumpy Straight Guy: I hope every gay person in the city comes right to your door to make out on your porch.

  • aadila

    Grumpy Straight Guy, so your idea of family values is to sit round the fireplace and teach your kids how to hate other people? I actually feel more sorry for them than the “gay activists” you despise. Hopefully when they grow up, they can overcome the poison you have filled their minds with. What a terrible thing to destroy the purity of a child’s mind with hate. All we are is the result of what we think.

  • Aron

    Hey Grumpy Straight Guy, why aren’t families based around homosexual relationships not ‘real families?’

  • Grumpy Straight Guy

    I have worked with Mr. Glenn for almost a decade, it will be great to see him and volunteer with his campaign.
    Traverse City is being over run by gay activists, its time to clean up this once family friendly city.
    Get informed – visit and

  • Georgia Citizen

    Mr. Glen

    What did any gay man do to you? Not all gays are the same.sure. There are bad ones just like there bad straights. This man is a coplete idiot!

  • Sam Molloy

    Oh, there is one similarity between Alcoholism and Homosexuality. That one similarity is, if you kinda think you might be one sometimes, a little…You definitely are one.

  • JunoB

    He doesn’t take the comparison with secondhand smoke far enough. He should be calling for homosexuals to be made to have sex while standing in small groups outside of buildings.

  • MRJ
  • Alice Coley

    What the HELL is wrong with this man? LGBT of Michigan UNITE –he does not think that anyone with LGBT ties should be hired–for anything. Michigan LGBT–go after this guy–’60’s style–picket against him, initiate a write in campaign against this guy–expand this list–I want to hear you, LGBT–as far away as Texas–where I live. We support you!

  • Jill Kuraitis

    SHAMELESS: I’m proud to say that I did the media for the campaign that finally got rid of Gary Glenn in Boise, Idaho. Our candidate beat Glenn by 77 votes in a Republican sweep year. Afterward, the other two commissioners who served with, and loathed, Gary Glenn let me scrape Glenn’s name off the glass of his former office. I hate hearing that Glenn is still messing around. A dangerously clever man.

  • Erika

    The American Family Association was so much better when the Rev. Donald Wildmon was in charge and they stuck to making hysterically funny hysterical claims about the media – most involved them seeing sex everywhere but of course, was the one where he claimed that Mighty Mouse cartoons were promoting cocaine use to chidlren.

    Yes, they still had some harmful effects to society (such as getting Mighty Mouse canceled after teaching thousands of Mighty Mouse watching children what cocaine was) but they were basically harmless – and the Rev. Donald Wildmon’s letters were even funnier than Chick Tracts.

    Now they seem to have ceased their hysterically funny media advocacy (possibly because in this age of constantly plunging lowest common demonators and reality television they don’t need to look for and expose hidden sex – but also possibly because if people today were complaining about gratitious comments about sex and gratitutous scantily clad women on television one of their primary targets would be Fox News) and just moved to bashing gay people they now have a much higher negative impact on society and they don’t even balance it by providing the societal benefit of unintended comedy.

  • aadila

    Ah yes, the good old American family values of hate.

  • MRJ

    You know, welcome to Michigan.
    One of these types lives across the road, and down the road, and around the corner both ways, and up the road, and two roads over, and two roads north, and south, etc..
    This guy is in the Midland area?
    So is Randy Grey.

    Alcoholism and homosexuality:
    Being equated in What way? Being a “filthy lifestyle” (!?) whereas both have been proven to be genetic in make up, and cover every spectrum, country, or class on every part of the globe for as long as recorded history?
    Is that how it is?
    Tell that to the alcoholic, racist, wife beating, Christians living around here.

    Parallelism between alcoholics and LGBT, between LGBT and Hitler/Third Reich, and, also, between Jews and pedophilia, between stupidity and LGBT, between health risks of smoking and LGBT, between domestic violence or pedophiles and LGBT… you know, the people whom I have met who say these things are all Christians.
    You know, the people who actually engage in these things in this area are all white, most are alcoholic or using drugs, and alllll Christians.

    You want another interesting parallel in an ignorant, racist mind?
    One of the racists down the street saying, when he saw a group of teens in a nearby city walking in front of the DMV/Sec. of State office: “Look at ’em! Their pants down like that means they’re trying to get picked up for gay sex! They want it!”
    Guess what skin color the kids had?
    But, then again, he abuses his wife (2), uses drugs, grows, and he’s been charged/convicted of Felony Possession in FL.

    Trying to explain Hip Hop/Gangsta dress, and the social statement made by those “pants on the ground” went absolutely past him… you can’t explain sociology, and any type of cultural fad differences to a cat turd who already believes through the deranged teaching of his father and peers that any type of cultural difference immediately equates to Sodom and Gomorrah.

    “…really only meant to further the “homosexual agenda.””

    Riiiiiight… any child or adult who is “bullied” (stalked/harassed/abused: call it what it is) is by this definition a homosexual

    My apologies to any self respecting cat turd, and any cats who feel affronted: we who own cats watch your joy when running around the house after your daily constitutional offerings to us.:)

  • Sam Molloy

    According to NPR, Gerrymandering in recent years has further enhanced the success of all-or-nothing candidates on both sides of our Continental Divide. There are very few districts remaining that “can go either way”. The most Right Wing candidate will always triumph in some, and the most Left Wing in others. This dinosaur will probably win this local Michigan election. Like Sary Palin and even Michelle Bachmann, he probably has some fiscal opinions I would agree with. It is astounding that they think they support ” limited government” when they take such an interest in who I stay awake with.

  • Paul

    He and State Rep Tom McMillin are chums. Listen to this robocall.

  • Mary Suzanne Smith

    What is happening to Michigan since I left eight years ago. I was 65 when I left. Michigan goes right to work, which should leave my good old dad, Linwood, shaking in his grave. Now all this nonsense against lgbt folks. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • concernedcitizen

    This man is a complete idiot.