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WeHo acting as a beacon of hope
By WeHo News staff, West Hollywood, California
For those of us living in West Hollywood’s bubble of safety who begin to think that being gay elsewhere has gotten any easier than when we left the homophobia behind for the Creative City, we present Porterville’s city council, perhaps California’s most homophobic.
A couple of weeks ago, this most in your face and out city and Porterville crossed paths over gay pride month, with West Hollywood voting for a resolution of support for the mayor of Porterville who tried to heal some of the wounds meted out by her fellow council members.
Pride is not something the majority of the Porterville city council have in their LGBT constituents.
According to Porterville Equality and Fairness For All (PEFA), Mayor Virginia Gurrola issued a LGBT Pride Month Proclamation on June 4, 2013, declaring the month Pride Month.
The other members of the Porterville City Council declined to sign the proclamation.
Two weeks later, on June 16, 2013, the Porterville City Council voted to rescind the proclamation, three votes to two, although activists dispute the ability of the Council to rescind the Mayor's proclamation.
Notified of the incident by the PEFA, West Hollywood’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) came to the city for advice.
Out of that came support in the form of an official city resolution.
“West Hollywood supports those who lead the way to end discrimination, promote fairness for all, and establish equality.“ said Robert Gamboa, co-chair of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.
“No person, including those who are LGBT, should suffer needlessly at the hands of others. No person, including LGBT persons, should be made to feel like a second-class citizen or be deprived of the full equality of rights and responsibilities under the law,” he said.
Whereas West Hollywood's entire city council is directly involved in WeHo's LA Gay Pride parade and festival.
PEFA issued a statement announcing its delight with the WeHo move to shore up support for tolerance in their city.
“We appreciate that the West Hollywood Council, as representatives of all of its constituents, has a long history of the support of equal rights for all wherever they may be” said Barry Caplan, Coordinator of PEFA.
“The LGBT community of Porterville knows that no City or any of its citizens can thrive where there is any doubt about their equal rights, where there is not full respect for all from other citizens and every government agency and official… We look forward to… the day when all of Porterville can rely on their equal rights and respect of government representatives” Mr. Caplan continued.
As mentioned above, Porterville and its Council has a long history of anti-LGBT activism. In 2008 during the Prop 8 campaign, council member Brian Ward offered a Resolution in favor of Prop 8 and Council passed the Resolution unanimously.
This was the only pro-Prop 8 Resolution passed by a city in the California. Prop 8 passed locally with 72 percent of the vote.
In the summer of 2009, Council member Cameron Hamilton proposed a Resolution opposed to the State Legislature’s efforts to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed out-of-state.
The move activated the LGBT community through 2008 and 2009, and that Resolution was defeated by a 3-2 vote, with only Hamilton and Ward voting in favor.
The West Hollywood resolution:
WHEREAS, President Obama on May 31, 2013, issued a proclamation declaring the month of June 2013 to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in the United States of America, thus marking the sixth occasion on which Pride Month has been recognized by the United States; and
WHEREAS, the City of West Hollywood has supported the full quality of persons since its founding in 1984; and
WHEREAS, Virginia R. Gurrola, Mayor of the City of Porterville, Tulare County, California, on June 4, 2013, issued a proclamation declaring June 2013 to be LGBT Pride Month in the City of Porterville; and
WHEREAS, other members of the Porterville City Council declined to sign the proclamation, and voted by three to two, on July 16, 2013, to rescind the proclamation, although the Council's ability to rescind the proclamation has been disputed; and
WHEREAS, there have been major advances toward full equality for LGBT persons, including rulings by the United States Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage and California's Proposition 8 ( 2012); and
WHEREAS, the City of West Hollywood believes that, far from being alone, the LGBT community of the Porterville area, and all those who support their full freedom and equality, are, in fact, supported by a growing majority of the American people;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City of West Hollywood endorses Mayor Virginia R. Gurrola' s proclamation of June 2013 as LGBT Pride Month in the City of Porterville, California.
PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED on this 5th day of August 2013.