Gay pastor under fire after man dies of drug overdose at his house
The Rev. Mark Bidwell of Ferndale is coming under fire after police responded to an emergency call to his home on Sept. 21.
Ferndale Police arrived to find 43-year-old Steven Michael Fitch unresponsive, reports the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak. According to the report, Bidwell, 52, and Fitch allegedly shot up crystal meth, then invited a third man over to Bidwell’s home.
Bidwell is hospitalized, and Ferndale Police say that his position as a chaplain with the force has been terminated because of the incident. Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson told the Tribune:
“Based on the information we have it is sufficient to determine he is not a person we want associated with our department,” Wilson said.
Bidwell is the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in Ferndale. That church is a Christian congregation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. Bidwell has conducted mass commitment ceremonies on the steps of the Ferndale City Hall for several years at the annual pride celebrations.
Crystal meth — the street name for methamphetamine — has been a growing problem in Michigan’s LGBT community. It has been tied nationally to a growing number of new HIV infections because the drug lowers sexual inhibitions.
Ferndale Police say there are unlikely to be criminal charges in the incident.