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Michigan state senator Hansen Clarke, who knew the slain Andrew Anthos well through his efforts to light the capitol dome, said Tuesday he will reintroduce a bill in coming days to include sexual orientation in Michigan's hate-crimes law.
"He lived in my district and he was murdered in my district," Clarke told Gay.com Tuesday. "Because Andrew was such a patriot, because he loved this country so much and the state of Michigan so much, his death can have some impact."
Anthos, a 72-year-old gay man whose great dream was to light the Michigan state capitol dome in red, white, and blue each Fourth of July, was helping a wheelchair-bound friend through the snow when a fellow bus rider, who was irked with Anthos's singing and was spouting gay slurs, bludgeoned him from behind with a metal pipe. Anthos lingered, paralyzed from the neck down, for 10 days before dying.
A big crowd is expected at Tuesday's visitation and Wednesday's funeral in Center Line, Mich., which is being funded by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 28, at the Ford Funeral Home, 26560 Van Dyke, Center Line, MI 48015. Condolences to Anthos's family, in care of his niece, Athena Fedenis, can be sent to the same address.
In Provincetown, Mass., dozens of mourners, lacking a dome, lit up a local memorial Sunday night for a vigil with tunes from DJ Vertigo Paris.
Others cited Anthos's case in letters to Congress in support of the new federal hate-crimes bill, HR 254, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas.
"Laws on the books do change attitudes," said Clarke. "Through them, people have learned it is not politically correct to harass people because of their color. Now this could actually help free people in this country to be who they are."
A similar effort cosponsored by Clarke died last year in the state senate judiciary committee.
Not least, efforts are under way to fulfill Anthos's 20-year dream of lighting the capitol dome in Lansing for Independence Day. Private donations are being sought for the effort, which has previously stalled for lack of funding; details are pending. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)