Activists in the sleepy town of Vallejo, California are asking for the censure of its mayor after he called gay people “sinful.”

In an article about the escalating tensions between recent gay transplants and evangelical Christians in the city, the New York Times quoted Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis, a devout Assemblies of God follower, saying: “They're committing sin and that sin will keep them out of heaven. But you don't hate the person. You hate the sin that they commit.”

Davis defeated an openly gay man, Gary Cloutier, by two votes in 2007 to become mayor.

Several gay candidates, including former council member Cloutier, say the city is replete with anti-gay sentiment. They point to prayer circles formed outside the City Council chamber and political “faith forums” hosted by a coalition of local churches. At one such forum, Cloutier says he was introduced repeatedly as “a gay” and asked if he would “bring the Folsom Street Fair to Vallejo.” San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair is an adult fair for gay men.

Over the past decade, gay men and lesbians have migrated from liberal San Francisco to Vallejo in search of affordable housing.

On Wednesday, Davis apologized for his remarks, saying they were taken out of context.

“I have worked hard to unite Vallejo and I will continue to do so. To those I have offended by my comments, I apologize. My words were taken out of context. I care for the entire community and my desire is to build consensus on our diversity. Let me be clear, I have and will stand against hatred, discrimination and divisiveness wherever they exist.”

But gay activists in the city say they'll push for the mayor's censure.

Charles Legalos, a former planning commissioner and gay activist, is spearheading the move. “His comments were completely out of line. They have no place coming from a city official,” Legalos told the Oakland Tribune.

Lou Bordisso, an openly gay American Catholic priest and former school board candidate, says he's planning a Tuesday, December 1 rally against the mayor in front of City Hall.

Bordisso told the New York Times: “They [evangelicals] have a hidden agenda to impose their particular version of Christianity on the citizens of Vallejo.”