Wednesday, July 20, 2005


A couple of weeks ago, the Hillsborough County Commission voted to ban official acknowledgement, support of, or participation in, any event that promotes gay pride. This came after the board forced librarians to remove a display of books authored by homosexuals and books with gay themes. This was not a display where signs were posted promoting the gay lifestyle; it was a display of books just as the library does for Black History Month featuring African-American authors and themes, and similar other events throughout the year to feature in a positive light various segments of the community.

Today, members of the group Equality Florida and the Hillsborough County Democratic Party gathered outside the county administration building to protest the commission's policy, as others packed the commission chamber to appeal for reconsideration.

Unfortunately, the board voted again without discussion to uphold the discriminatory policy. Only Commissioner Kathy Castor, who voted against the ban originally, cast a vote for reconsideration. Ms. Castor noted that the county could be on shaky legal ground, as it is allegedly violating it's own statutes in the library case. She noted statutes approved in 1984 creating a library advisory board and giving it authority to select books that represent views of the entire community.

Equality Florida director Nadine Smith announced the launch of a "buycott"...a campaign to promote businesses that support gay rights. She mentioned that her group is compiling a list of businesses that have anti-discriminatory policies that protect gay rights. They also ask that you sign this petition if you life in Hillsborough County; if you don't but live in Florida, click this's the same petition, but it's sent to your own county commission. If you don't live in Florida, click this link...the wording is slightly different, as it's sent to the state government. And if you're a business owner/representative, click this link.

Wheather or not you approve of homosexual relationships, one has to remember that gays are human beings, citizens, and taxpayers, and deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else. What the Hillsborough County Commission has done is simply wrong.


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