From pride to disgust: Hillsborough County (Florida) shuts out gays and lesbians
Yesterday afternoon, I wrote what one commenter called an "intimate and positive" post on Toronto's extraordinary Pride festivities, a fantastic week-long celebration that culminated in Saturday's Dyke March and Sunday's Pride Parade. If I may put it this way, Toronto Pride makes me proud to be a Torontonian. And proud to be a Canadian -- a same-sex marriage bill will soon be passed in the House of Commons.
But now, thanks to that same commenter, I've learned of the utterly stupid actions of the Hillsborough County Commission in Florida (the Tampa area):
The Hillsborough County Commission has enacted a policy banning county agencies from acknowledging gay pride events, despite several impassioned pleas from gay rights advocates.
Civil rights groups threatened to sue and called for a town hall meeting on the ban, which requires the Hillsborough County government "to abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating in gay pride recognition and events." The board passed the proposal 5-1 on Wednesday.
Hillsborough Commissioner Ronda Storms, who recommended the policy, followed up with a second proposal, that commissioners can only repeal the policy on a 5-2 super majority vote that follows a public hearing.
Angry yet? Here's more:
The vote comes a week after a book display recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month was taken down at West Gate Regional Library after some library patrons complained. Library officials have said the exhibit at West Gate was removed due to a misunderstanding and was later moved to a less prominent area in the fiction part of the library.
Details of the ban, such as whether any display about gay issues would be banned at libraries, were unclear. After the vote, Storms would only say that she feels the language is clear.
But when asked about whether gay student groups would be allowed to meet at a county library or another meeting space, Storms said they would.
"We're not saying that because of your sexual orientation you can't come into the library," she said.
Thanks for the clarification, Ms. Storms. But let me ask you a few questions: Do you just hate gays and lesbians in theory, or is it personal? What is it about them that worries you so? What's so wrong with "gay pride" that your government -- you know, the one that allegedly represents the people (all the people) of Hillsborough County -- shouldn't be allowed to have anything to do with it? And would you be happier if they had their own libraries? You know, separate but equal, or something like that? Is that next?
I'd like some answers, because, try as I might, I just can't figure out where the hell you're coming from -- unless it's just a simple matter of bigotry.