Bomb threat

Mar 3, 1999 at 12:00 am

Police are investigating a bomb threat mailed last month in an official Michigan House of Representatives envelope to a statewide gay and lesbian newspaper.

The obscenity-filled letter to Between the Lines in Farmington Hills is signed with an X but identifies the sender as a supporter of the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based organization on the religious right.

"I’m going to make sure I make a fag’s/dyke’s life a living hell. Starting with your staff," says the handwritten letter with this postscript: "I will be the one throwing bricks at you at the next PRIDE march. Maybe a Molotov Cocktail. Get the point?"

Farmington Hills Assistant Police Chief Chuck Nebus says his department is working with the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office to trace the threat. Although the letter came in a state House envelope, Between the Lines co-publisher Jan Stevenson says it was postmarked in Detroit.

Between the Lines sent a copy of the letter to state Rep. Lynne Martinez, who says she plans this week to reintroduce legislation that would add "sexual orientation" to groups protected under the state’s hate crimes law. Martinez says the threatening letter to Between the Lines is an example of the kind of intimidation the legislation is meant to discourage.

Meanwhile, Farmington Hills police have helped tighten security at the newspaper, said Nebus.

The letter begins with an objection to a cartoon that appeared in the Feb. 18-March 3 issue of Between the Lines. The cartoon slams the Family Research Council’s campaign against homosexuals as parents. Stevenson says the letter states: "You seem to think that all who belong to or support the Family Research Council are evil or ‘fag-bashers.’ Granted, some of us are."

The Family Research Council did not return repeated phone calls from the Metro Times. On its Web site, the organization calls homosexuality "unhealthy, immoral and destructive" and speaks of countering the "homosexual agenda."

Sean Kosofsky, spokesperson for the Detroit-based Triangle Foundation, says although the Family Research Council claims to have compassion for homosexuals, they are "fueling the rhetoric and climate that makes it OK for people to kill us."