Langford: No Pride Proclamation or Banners

UPDATE:  Per the Birmingham News, Larry says he’ll deny a parade permit as well.  Does he have the authority to do that?  He says it’s not about discrimination, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

I hope he gets his ass sued off.

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Birmingham mayor Larry Langford has denied a request from Central Alabama Pride for a proclamation recognizing Gay Pride Week in Birmingham. He has also refused to allow CAP to hang banners in Southside to commemorate the 20th annual Pride parade. Below is the text of the email sent in response to the CAP Board’s inquiry:

I have received your request for a proclamation celebrating Gay Pride Week. While I do not personally ascribe to any form of discrimination, I believe it is not the role of local governments to condone, endorse or support the personal lifestyle choices of its citizens.

Therefore, I respectfully deny your request for a city-issued proclamation as well as the posting of banners on city right-of-ways for such event.

Larry P. Langford
Mayor

“While I do not personally ascribe to any form of discrimination, I believe it is not the role of local governments to condone, endorse or support the personal lifestyle choices of its citizens.

Oh please. If the first part of that sentence were true, the Mayor would never have written the second part. Here’s a clue, Larry: sexual orientation and gender identity are NOT LIFESTYLE CHOICES. And refusing to allow Pride banners on city streets IS discrimination.

Funny how Larry thinks it’s just fine to force the local government to condone, endorse, and support his peculiar version of Christianity, as evidenced by his sackcloth and ashes event (to which he invited homophobic Bishop Eddie Long) and weekly Bible study for city employees.

Nephew Zach, who tipped me on this story, says this at Sweet Homo Alabama:

The proclamation has usually been issued by the mayor’s office each year to be printed in the guide handed out to pride participants. Each year the Pride Parade marches through the center of Five Points South, a commercial square in downtown. The parade route is usually decorated with gay pride flags and banners. Not so this year, according to the mayor. Langford also denied the pride board’s request to hang the banners this year. CAP board President Jonathan Quinn said that the organization is moving forward cautiously. “The pride board is meeting with the mayor and then moving forward,” Quinn said.

CAP is awaiting approval of its parade permit. The Birmingham News is expected to run this story tomorrow. Perhaps citizen outcry will have an effect on His Majesty Honor the Mayor, but I’m not holding my breath.

19 Responses to “Langford: No Pride Proclamation or Banners”

  1. Helen says:

    The Mayor does not speak for me, nor for the majority of citizens of Birmingham, who understand that injustice anywhere is truly a threat to justice everywhere.

    I would also suggest that he apply his “don’t ask–don’t tell” philosophy to the exercise of his religious beliefs. City Hall is supposed to serve the entire community, regardless of religious viewpoint. If the Mayor cannot sign the proclamation, so be it. He can’t deny freedom of expression. As already heard on early morning talk shows, this act evokes the Birmingham of 45 years ago, when another official tried to deny the people their right to assembly.

  2. Bill says:

    I have had it with this corrupt, evil asshat. If the citizens of Birmingham want to bankrupt themselves by voting in this idiot, more power to them. But if he is going to use his office to promote his bigoted verion of Christianity, he can go screw himself. I am seriously evaluating doing significantly less business in the City of Birmingham until he is no longer in office. Fuck you, Mr. Mayor.

  3. Del says:

    This is just appalling. Nobody asked him to put on a spangled Speedo and lead the freaking parade, for God’s sake.

  4. DJ_Derek says:

    http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1203412513231020.xml&coll=2

    My partner is on the Pride Board and the phones are blowing up.
    They are gonna fight this – but they are gonna need bodies.
    Please stop by
    myspace.com/CentralAlabamaPride
    and add them as a friend to stay updated!

  5. zach says:

    I know Del, Thats MY job!
    Now what am I going to do with this spangled speedo!

  6. Unfortunately nothing LaLa does surprises me any more doesn’t care how much damage he does to Birmingham’s reputation any more. First he raises the cost of doing business, then the cost of purchasing anything. Now, he is guaranteeing that no one under the age of 30 will want to live or work in Birmingham. He probably has no idea that gay families are the only thing keeping some of Birmingham’s neighborhoods alive.

    If there is a god, there will be an indictment, soon, that will rid us of this fool.

  7. Bill says:

    Lisa,

    Word. I was thinking the same thing about both the gay families and the indictment.

  8. Mac says:

    I just found out about this… He’s only following in a grand Birmingham tradition, just like his spiritual forefather Bull Connor.

  9. jules says:

    Langford is a black man with a short memory. Enough said.

  10. Bill says:

    Backward, Birmingham! The sixties back, only this time with another group to oppress. I can’t imagine anything worse. Primarily, what Langford is saying and doing is just WRONG. From a PR standpoint is horrible. At a time when this state is trying to develop economically and courting industry all over what does this do? Many of the countries which we would like to build plants here already have gay marriage and sexual orientation has long since ceased to be an issue. Any state with which Alabama competes for industry will have another reason not to come here, especially to the Birmingham Area: Homophobic to the extreme.

  11. Bill says:

    Even if Langford reverses himself thanks to Rep. Todd’s intervention, the damage done by his hateful words can’t be undone.

  12. Robin says:

    Kudos to everyone who has been vocally opposed, some progress has been made:
    Todd: Langford says he will allow gay pride parade permit
    http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/05/todd_langford_says_he_will_all.html

  13. Kathy says:

    OMG, I just picked up on the spangled Speedo references. Please, no! A world of no!!! ;)

  14. Del says:

    Not even if it were made out of sackcloth? A spangled sackcloth Speedo?

  15. Kathy says:

    Only if Larry could wear his Rolex with it.

  16. bhmhomeboy says:

    There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action.

  17. [...] not issue the proclamation requested by event organizers, as first shared by Sweet Homo Alabama and Birmingham Blues on Friday (complete with the text from the email sent from Langford’s office), but also said that he [...]

  18. ALmod says:

    Yay for the spangled sackcloth speedo!

    I’m yard-stick straight, and I want to go to this thing just to show my support. (Plus, it gives me an excuse to wear a costume Dorothy costume. These things are usually a blast!)

    Been watching this thing all week, and I kept thinking… Yeah, he’s messed with the wrong demographic. The great thing about gays and lesbians is that there seems to be a great deal of support from within their community nationwide. If the parade hadn’t been allowed, I’d have had a nice Schadenfreude moment watching what happened next.

    Birmingham already has a horrible reputation built on it’s civil rights history. This was the last thing we needed. A black mayor OF ALL PEOPLE should have understood that one. Roughly 50 years ago, black people saw for themselves what it was like having an unwelcome march through downtown. Then again, I’ve also witnessed their reactions to Vietnamese store owners and Mexicans… Looks like the Birmingham biggot torch has been passed, and the black population is running with it nicely.

    And on top of that, his whole “government shouldn’t endorse blah blah” statement is ALWAYS going to be seen as b.s. Now that he’s done his sackcloth and ashes bit, anything he says can be taken in just that manner. I’m surprised the national media hasn’t been all over this guy.

    I was watching the California decision on gay marriage, too. And it reminded me of the seperate but equal decision. Seperate is not equal. Period. They’re exactly right.

  19. [...] assertion that sexual orientation is a “personal lifestyle choice”. The Mayor has refused to sign a proclamation recognizing the annual Central Alabama Pride celebration, and he won’t [...]

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