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