Press

Task Force mourns death of elderly Detroit man viciously beaten in hate-laced attack

Date: 
February 23, 2007

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

 

“The hatred and loathing that led to the vicious murder of Andrew Anthos only because he was gay is not innate. Instead it is being taught every day by leaders of the so-called Christian right and their political allies.”Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 — A 72-year-old Detroit man who was attacked Feb. 13 and left paralyzed from the neck down died today in what his family is calling a hate crime. Andrew Anthos, who was known in Michigan for his longtime campaign to illuminate the dome of the state capitol for one night each year in red, white and blue lights, was on a city bus when a man reportedly approached him and asked him if he was gay. The man continued to harass Anthos, followed him off the bus at the stop in front of his building and then viciously beat Anthos with a metal pipe, striking him from behind. Anthos, who family members said was gay, was in a coma in the days immediately preceding his death.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“The hatred and loathing that led to the vicious murder of Andrew Anthos only because he was gay is not innate. Instead it is being taught every day by leaders of the so-called Christian right and their political allies who use their vast resources, media networks and affiliated pulpits to blame lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for all the ills of society. They disguise their bigotry as ‘deeply-held religious beliefs.’ They cloak themselves in ‘family values.’

“For years, Michigan has been subjected to the homophobic rants of Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, while so many otherwise good and decent people have been silent. Just two years ago, the state endured an ugly campaign, led by Cardinal Adam Maida, to ‘protect marriage’ by writing anti-gay discrimination into its constitution. Based on that amendment, a three-judge panel of Michigan's court of appeals voted last month to terminate medical insurance coverage for families of LGBT government workers throughout the state.

“It is appalling hypocrisy for these forces to pretend that their venomous words and organizing have no connection to the plague of hate violence against gay people, including the murder of Mr. Anthos.

“Our hearts and sympathies go out to the members of Mr. Anthos’ family and to our colleagues at the Triangle Foundation who have been at his bedside and with his family for the last two weeks. As a small token of the condolences of our national community feels, we will be covering funeral costs.”

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.