Days after the Holland City Council refused to expand its anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and the Lansing city council members unanimously opposed a measure that would dissolve numerous anti-discrimination laws in the state, Michigan advocates are speaking out about CBS Outdoor and its initial refusal to run a pro-LGBT billboard campaign.
Western Michigan organization, Until Love is Equal, was ultimately given approval for its campaign after first being met with opposition from the billboard’s owner, CBS Outdoor. The organization claims that its billboard proposal, designed in response to Holland’s anti-discrimination ordinance rejection, was denied and only accepted after the press was contacted and became involved. CBS Outdoor, on the other hand, alleges that they never denied the organization and the ordeal is a huge misunderstanding.
Although the LGBT group had worked with the New York-based billboard company before, Michael Tuffelmire, co-leader of Until Love is Equal, attributed the initial refusal to CBS’s will for impartiality: “I don't think CBS Outdoor are malicious and don't like gay people. I think they are being cautious and are worried it will rub people the wrong way.” Yet, Jay Kaplan, attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project, sees the issue of impartiality differently. In a public comment Kaplan suggested, “It's our understanding that CBS has other billboards in other parts of the country have had messages that might be considered political. So to turn this down might raise some concerns.”
Nevertheless, the billboard will appear with the message, “...With Liberty and Justice for ___," in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Until Love is Equal is dedicated to ensuring personal liberties and protections for all LGBT Michiganders.