Hillsborough County commissioners on
Wednesday unanimously repealed a ban on county government recognition
of Gay Pride.
Opponents of reversing the ban,
approved by commissioners in 2005 with an explicit provision
requiring a supermajority to overturn it, warned of God's wrath,
saying the county risked losing the “favor of God.”
“Good government is to remain neutral
to the cultural wars and should not endorse or promote any sexual
preference,” Pastor Tony Smart said.
Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who in 2005
helped vote in the ban, teared up with regret as he reversed his
position, the Tampa
Bay Times reported.
“I teach my kids that when you make a
mistake, you correct it yourself,” he told colleagues, “to not be
afraid when you make a mistake and to fight like hell to stick up for
the weak and the people who are different than you and people looking
Nadine Smith, executive director of
Equality Florida, applauded the move.
“We commend the Hillsborough
commissioners for doing the right thing,” she said in a statement.
“For eight years this law has served no other purpose except to be
a daily insult to gay people who live, work and visit Hillsborough
Hillsborough County's largest city is
Beach to pay gay couples' tax on benefits.)