Archive for May 24th, 2008

Birmingham News: Mayor Larry Langford said today he will not interfere with plans for a gay pride parade next month on Southside, but he still refuses to sign a proclamation or allow banners on city property.

Langford spoke with state Rep. Patricia Todd and clarified his position on the parade. The 20th Gay Pride Parade, sponsored by Central Alabama Pride, will be June 7 in Five Points South.

“We don’t agree on everything, but I still want to maintain a relationship and have an open dialog with him,” Todd said. Langford on Friday he would not sign a proclamation, allow banners on city property or sign a parade permit. The mayor said he rejected those requests because it was inappropriate for government to endorse a lifestyle.

Today Langford said he will not block the police from issuing the parade permit. That permit is not normally signed by the mayor.

Previous mayors have quietly signed the proclamation and allowed the banners.

“I thought I had stated my position very clearly. If I were to sign the permit to put up banners on city right of ways I would be condoning that which I don’t condone,” he said. “To give a proclamation is totally under the purview of the mayor.”

Birmingham News: Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Larry Langford won’t sign a proclamation for an annual gay pride celebration or allow banners on city property, and said he will not grant the sponsoring group a parade permit.

Langford said he turned down the requests this week from Central Alabama Pride because it is inappropriate for government to endorse a lifestyle. Pride Week is next month and often includes a parade on Southside and other events.

“My policy is don’t ask because it’s not my business, and don’t put me in the position to make it my business,” Langford said Friday. “I don’t condone it, but I also am not sitting in judgment on anyone.”

Still Langford’s stance angered some members of the city’s gay community.

“It doesn’t hurt my feelings, because we’re not politically on the same page. I’m offended more so,” said Ronald Simoneau, a participant in the parade since 1989. “It’s a slap in the face to the gay community, to just shrug us off like we’re not important.”

He said he learned of the mayor’s decision in an e-mail sent to an event organizer.

Simoneau, also known as “Libertee Belle,” said past mayors have signed the proclamation and allowed the parade. Refusing such an innocuous request sends a message of intolerance to a significant population of the city, he said.

“I did the first gay pride march in 1989,” Simoneau said “At that time, even the police were a little worried then, but we’ve never had a problem at all.”

Langford cited his support for increased funding for AIDS outreach programs and a nondiscriminatory hiring policy as evidence of his fair treatment of all people.

“I don’t think I’m intolerant, I just don’t condone the lifestyle,” he said. “Your personal lifestyle should be nobody’s issue but yours. It’s not a civil rights issue, it’s a personal choice issue.”

In addition, Langford said anyone familiar with his personality and religious views should not be surprised by the denial.

“I’m not going to endorse, condone or condemn anybody,” he said. “I’m just not going to sign the proclamation.”

Imagine my surprise being only a 3-day old blog, than to get an interview request from our friends at the Pakistani Spectator. It’s amazing how the internet truly makes us a one world tree. Check ’em out.

I’m new at this blogging thing, so don’t be too harsh on my uneducated answers, but I must say, it was a privilege just to be talking to someone on the other side of the world about what little ole me actually thought.

The London Showcase of Jason Mraz‘s latest album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.