Andrew Shirvell, the Michigan Assistant Attorney General who has been waging a creepy internet campaign against an openly gay student government leader for half a year, is temporarily stepping down from his position. The AG’s office announced Shirvell’s “voluntary leave of absence” this morning.

Shirvell has been running an increasingly unhinged blog devoted to sliming Chris Armstrong, president of the University of Michigan student assembly, for nearly six months. Shirvell has called Armstrong a “pervert” on the blog, and depicted him juxtaposed with a swastika-bedecked rainbow flag (see photo at right). Shirvell has also shown up several times at Armstrong’s house to harass him, leading Armstrong to seek a restraining order against the attorney.

Shirvell served as Attorney General Mike Cox’s campaign manager in 2006, and though his employee’s bizarre behavior has been a matter of public record for weeks, Cox has thus far refused to take disciplinary action. This week, however, as the story broke in the national media, pressure on Cox has grown — just yesterday Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm tweeted that if she “was still Attorney General and Andrew Shirvell worked for me, he would have already been fired.”

Update | Published reports say that Shirvell will face a disciplinary hearing if and when he returns from his “leave.” In other news, the University of Michigan confirmed yesterday that Shirvell was from setting foot on its Ann Arbor campus, where Armstrong is a student, more than two weeks ago.