Shirvell Defamation Suit Dismissed

Remember Andrew Shervill, the staggeringly obnoxious bigot who got fired for stalking Chris Armstrong, the gay student body president at the University of Michigan’ a few years ago? His defamation suit against Armstrong’s attorney was just dismissed by a federal judge.

An ex-attorney for the state of Michigan who was fired after expressing hostility toward a gay University of Michigan student leader has lost a defamation lawsuit against another lawyer.

Detroit federal Judge Arthur Tarnow on Tuesday said Deborah Gordon’s comments about Andrew Shirvell were either true or opinions and showed no malice. He dismissed the case.

He’s just upset that Gordon won a lawsuit against him on behalf of Armstrong. Shirvell was ordered to pay $4.5 million for his harassment of Armstrong, which included recording people going in and out of his house and claiming that he was having gay orgies. His actions were so clearly out of bounds that even former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, himself a Christian righter, fired him when an investigation found that he had used state computers to carry out his stalking of Armstrong.

Shirvell is a graduate of the Ave Maria School of Law.

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  • Well, I guess Andy’s penis won’t be any more shriveled than his bank account. Stupid fuck.

  • Alverant

    How soon before we start hearing cries of how “activist” judges are persecuting christians?

  • I guess Andy is probably feeling even less happy now that even the Pope says, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person … In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation.”

    Andy just can’t get a break!

  • John Pieret

    Ah, Ave Maria School of Law. Tom Monaghan’s toy to go along with the Thomas More Law Center, so the TMLC will never lack for incompetant lawyers.

  • R Johnston

    Shervill is someone I actually feel sorry for. Most of these homophobic assholes come across as nothing more than homophobic assholes, but Shervill, more than any other I’ve seen, comes across as a self loathing closet case. People like to joke about the worst homophobes having strong same sex attraction, and most of the time it’s a bad joke, but I’d be shocked if it’s not actually true in Shervill’s case. Even if he’s not the most pathetic closet case ever, he’s clearly someone utterly unable to control his behavior no matter how much harm it causes himself, someone who needs a psychiatric intervention if he’s to function in this world. He’s not making money off of homophobia; he’s obsessively destroying his life over it.

  • otrame

    R Johnston

    Yeah, I’ve gotten that impression too. I’m sure that Armstrong is well aware as well. If I were Armstrong I would pity the poor man. I would also be pretty worried.

  • 5 & 6@:

    Well, thanks a lot! I was happily loathing the guy and now you’ve forced me to be empathetic (always a strain in my case).

  • timberwoof

    He gets no sympathy from me.

    For how many decades has the meme been floating around that the most severe homophobes are actually closet cases who need to get over themselves? The actual research says it’s more like one third of them, but it makes no difference. If you’re gay, you’re gay; get over it. If you’re not gay, then you’re not gay, so get over it. In either case, don’t be an ass!

    If he was the type of homophobe who thought he could get cured, then he could have sought out a psychiatrist. If he was lucky, he’d have learned what his orientation really was and then to get over his homophobia.

    But no, despite all the information that’s been out there all his life—I came out probably at about the same time he was in diapers—he insisted on expressing homophobia. I don’t care what his motivations were; they don’t change that he was an ass.

    I’ll cop to some Schadenfreude that he lost his job and now owes a huge settlement. I’m sure that as the morally and intellectually superior person he thinks he is, he can pay it off. (He probably had insurance to cover that sort of thing.)

    And no, don’t give him to us! If he really is gay, then he’ll spend a week apologizing and the rest of his life pathetically trying to get into the pants of people he so despised. }:6

  • *blink blink*


  • vmanis1

    Shirvell’s major offence was stalking. He was and is a creepy man, which in no way mitigates the need to feel empathy for him. I do hope he gets the help he needs before he does something really bad.

    But my major point in commenting here is to remind everyone that `Ave Maria’ is Latin for `Hail Mary’…a university for futile gestures that very rarely result in anything worthwhile.

  • vmanis1

    Oh, and I guess mediocre students at AMU get `Hail Mary Pass’ grades.

  • lordshipmayhem

    I’m thinking it would be better named the Hail Mary school of law: throw something way out there, and hope that a judge is actually receptive to it.

  • “Shirvell is a graduate of the Ave Maria School of Law clown college.”

    Fixed that for you. At my previous institution (an elite four-year college within a large public university in Florida) a prospective student challenged a professor to explain why our college was a better choice than Ave Maria (college, not COL). The professor’s response was, “if you find Ave Maria to be a good fit for you, I’m afraid there’s nothing we can offer you here.”

  • Timberwoof: “The actual research says it’s more like one third of them”

    Citation please? This would be interesting & useful to read

  • Ichthyic


    the journal article they refer to is linked in the story.

  • Yep, interesting (the study is paywalled, but I’ll read it when I can get to a university library). This does provide confirmation, by a different method, of Adams et al.’s well-known 1996 study (that more homophobic than non-homophobic men were aroused by gay porn) — a study which has created a lot of debate as to what it actually means. However, it’s startling to find the Ryans’ NYT article stating that over 20% of self-identified straight men (20% of all of them, note, not just the most homophobic) implicitly associated themselves with the concept of homosexuality — if that was taken to be a measure of their true orientation, it would be a much greater proportion of the population than other studies have found. Where’s the research validating this implicit-association method? Anyhow, it does seem significant that, like Adams et al., Ryan et al. found that the men with this discrepancy between stated and “implicit” orientation were more likely to be strongly homophobic… interpretation is still tricky, I think.

    I don’t know where the figure that one-third of homophobic men were actually gay came from — is it in the actual study?