Chris Armstrong, the openly gay University of Michigan student body president who graduated last year, has been awarded a $4.5 million settlement against former Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell, who posted a series of attacks against Armstrong on his anti-gay blog.
Shirvell accused Armstrong of “liquoring up” underage freshmen and recruiting people for his “radical homosexual agenda,” with the intent of getting Armstrong to resign from his presidential post. Armstrong claimed Shirvell caused him emotional distress and was initially only seeking $25,000, so the settlement came as a surprise.
“I’m just incredibly humbled by what happened today,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “This is truly a victory — not just for myself, but for a lot of other kids out there.”
Shirvell, who represented himself, called the $4.5 million “grossly excessive” for what was “clearly protected speech … and activity.” Shirvell plans to appeal, claiming juries give “short shrift to First Amendment rights.”
We’re not lawyers or anything, but we’re pretty sure calling someone “Satan’s representative” and claiming they had gay sex orgies in their dorm room is playing fast and loose with “free speech.”
Attorney General Mike Cox fired Shirvell in 2010, leaving him currently unemployed. Shirvell claims “there’s no way I could possibly ever pay such a judgment.”
Armstrong, for his part, had agreed to drop the case should Shirvell apologize, but Shirvell is apparently man who sticks to his convictions, not matter how absurd. An asshole*…and a man who sticks to his convictions.