Editor's Note: Guest blogger Barry Caplan is coordinator of Porterville Equality and Fairness for All (PEFA), a coalition of local LGBT supportive groups, and local chapters of national organizations. To keep up to date, please click here and like PEFA on Facebook.
Yesterday, in a guest post for the Bilerico Project, I provided the background leading up to last night's Porterville, CA city council meeting, where three anti-LGBT measures were on the agenda. I wrote that the councilmembers had a clear choice: they could vote for equality and move Porterville into the modern era, or they could align with anti-LGBT extremists and allow the town to remain hostile and unwelcoming to LGBT people.
The results are in, and they're not pretty. Last night, the Porterville City Council officially voted to rescind the LGBT Pride Month proclamation and replace it with a generic proclamation retroactively designating June the month of "Community Charity and Goodwill." They also voted to:
- Change the process to require the advance approval of at least 3 of the 5 councilmembers before any future proclamations can be passed.
It was pointed out by Councilman McCracken, a City Council veteran, that it was only in the last 2.5 years -- starting with former Mayor Ron Irish -- that all Councilmembers even signed proclamations. Before that, in the over 100-year history of the city, only the Mayor signed proclamations, just as happened this time with the LGBT Pride Month proclamation.
No one listened. The new (and complex) process, which could cause delays of up to one month for the approval of any future proclamations, is motivated only by the desire to prevent some present or future Mayor from unilaterally approving another LGBT-favorable resolution.
- Recombine the rescind and replace items that they had voted in the June 11 meeting to have as one item, but on June 18 had voted to split into two.
This made it impossible to vote to for the LGBT Pride Month proclamation and the new resolution separately, meaning that councilmembers only had one option: rescind and replace the Pride proclamation, or have no proclamation for June at all. Their hands were tied: they had to vote for two unrelated items, with their "aye" vote meant to both rescind and affirm the two parts.
Civil disobedience following the vote resulted in three arrests and chaos on the dais. Watch: