Michigan governor calls for Shirvell's firing; state AG defends him


UPDATE: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has not suspended his assistant, Andrew Shirvell, as was previously reported. Shirvell has "taken a personal leave following intense public scrutiny" and "will be the subject of a disciplinary hearing after he returns to work," reports The Detroit News early Friday morning. End of update...

The Michigan assistant attorney general who has been running a campaign against an openly gay student body president is facing a possible restraining order, and has been banned from entering the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

AnnArbor.com reported Thursday that Christopher Armstrong, the first openly gay student president at U of M Ann Arbor, has filed a request for a restraining order against Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell.

Since April of this year, Shirvell "has been following me around throughout U of M's campus and Ann Arbor unnecessarily, blogging about me extensively using bias and bigotry and poses a threat to my own personal safety," Armstrong said in a court document (PDF).

Shirvell appeared on CNN Tuesday night to defend his picketing campaigns against Armstrong, and against claims he has made on his blog that Armstrong, among other things, is promoting a "radical homosexual agenda" and held parties to "indoctrinate" straight students into a "homosexual lifestyle."

The publicity generated by that interview has turned into a political storm in Michigan, where Governor Jennifer Granholm declared on Twitter Thursday that "if I was still Attorney General and Andrew Shirvell worked for me, he would have already been fired."

But Shirvell apparently has at least one Michigan official in his corner. Speaking on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said Shirvell has every right to pursue his anti-gay campaign.

"Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech," Cox said.

Meanwhile, a University of Michigan official said that Shirvell had been issued a trespass warning earlier this month, and has been barred from campus for the past several weeks, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Diane Brown, a spokeswoman for University of Michigan police, said the campus barring was due to Shirvell "being a possible suspect in harassing or stalking behavior." She said Shirvell is appealing the decision.

In his court petition, Armstrong asks that Shirvell be banned from being within eyesight of Armstrong, and that he be barred from having any email or Facebook contact with him.

The judge presiding over the case has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 4.

A Facebook page dedicated to having Shirvell ousted from his job as a prosecutor appears to be gaining hundreds of new fans per day.

The blog where Shirvell made his accusations against Armstrong -- Chris Armstrong Watch -- has been put behind a membership wall.