The alleged crime took place in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday night.

Possible hate crime in Grand Rapids under investigation

Man attacked after leaving a meeting for Equality Michigan

By Tara Cavanaugh

GRAND RAPIDS- When David Battjes left an Equality Michigan meeting Wednesday night, he felt good. As a board member of West Michigan Pride, and a member of the Until Love Is = campaign, he was happy to meet Equality Michigan's new executive director and make connections between the three groups.

But on the way to his car, he became a victim.

As he passed two men, "they grabbed me and threw me up against a wall," he said.

"They called me a faggot, said you don't deserve to live, you don't belong on the face of the earth, and one of them slugged me.

"As I doubled over, they kind of relaxed their grip. I broke free.

"And I ran as fast as I could. They called me a cocksucker, a faggot, and some other words I couldn't make out because I was far enough away. I didn't want to hear any more," Battjes said. "My goal was just to get away from there, as far away as I could."

He doesn't think he was followed by the two men, or that they targeted him. But he was wearing a West Michigan Pride t-shirt.

Battjes reported the incident to the Grand Rapids Police, who are looking into the incident as a possible hate crime, according to the Grand Rapids Press.

Battjes plans to recover by being in the company of friends, his church and his husband Michael, whom he married ten months ago in Iowa City. "It's been really encouraging and overwhelming, the support and concern in the community," he said. "I've been estranged from my kids for a few years, and two of them have even reached out to me, saying no one should have to endure anything like this."

Battjes said this is the first time he's been a victim. He's visible in the community, so "I've had the comments," he said. "But nothing physical has ever happened to us."

"We're disappointed that this happened," said Michael Gregor, communications director at Equality Michigan. "Someone that's attending our event and supporting the movement for equality, and a leader in the Grand Rapids community. It clearly demonstrates where we're at in Michigan ... that we have a long way to go in moving toward hate crime legislation. As well as showing the general public that this type of behavior and hate crimes are not acceptable at all."

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+