South Valley community remains at odds after LGBT meeting

July 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A day after protest and arrests at a city council meeting, members of a South Valley community remain at odds.

Neither side would back down on their stance toward a gay pride proclamation by the mayor.

Porterville City Hall was quiet Wednesday afternoon after a heated council meeting Tuesday night that ended with three people in jail.

The three gay activists who were arrested Tuesday night were released from jail Wednesday. As it appears, the gay rights community in Porterville and several city council members are no closer to making amends.

Police quickly detained three gay rights activists who, holding up signs, protested in Porterville's City Council Chambers after the council voted 3-2 to take back a gay pride proclamation made by the mayor in June.

"What Porterville folks in city hall both staff and city council need to learn is city hall is not a church," said Barry Caplan with Gay Porterville.

City Councilmember Pete McCracken voted down taking back the proclamation because in the city's history. The mayor has always had a right to issue a proclamation without the council's approval.

Three other councilmembers disagreed, voting to rescind the proclamation and instead issue a more broad resolution that did not specify the gay community. The outbursts by both sides even sent the mayor out of the room in tears.

Even though McCracken would have voted to keep the proclamation, he chose not to sign it when the mayor issued it last month.

"I did not sign the proclamation. I did not feel at the time that the proclamation the way it was written was appropriate," McCracken said.

As for the protests, McCracken said the demonstration clearly violated city rules.

"Had they done it on the street, more power to them, gazebo across the street, no problem. In the council chambers the rules are no posters there are no signs there are no demonstrations," McCracken said.

"What's important isn't so much the protest it's the history of city council for 5 years' time and time again approaching and having anti-LGBT gay community proclamations or actions," Caplan said.


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