Press

National gay rights leader condemns bigotry in Ft. Lauderdale

Date: 
July 24, 2007

Media Contact:
Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org


“Mayor Naugle’s shameful words and deeds are not only an egregious insult to Ft. Lauderdale’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and all decent people in Broward County – they defame all gay people coast to coast.”
— Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, July 24 —  Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle has recently been criticized for stating that the city's proposal to buy a $250,000 self-cleaning toilet for the beach would reduce “homosexual activity” in public restrooms. Additionally, Naugle has also been quoted as saying that the Stonewall Library, a collection of gay materials moving to a city-owned building, contains “hard-core pornography.” Naugle today added insult to injury today at a 1 p.m. press conference on the steps of City Hall, with a barrage of insults to the Ft. Lauderdale gay citizenry.

Today’s 4:30 p.m.rally at Ft. Lauderdale’s City Hall is intended to call out the mayor for his continued bigoted comments and to reclaim Fort Lauderdale's reputation as a modern, cosmopolitan, inclusive city. Mr. Foreman was a speaker at today’s rally.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
at the rally protesting Mayor Jim Naugle’s homophobic remarks
July 24, 2007 – Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“I am here today because Mayor Naugle’s shameful words and deeds are not only an egregious insult to Ft. Lauderdale’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and all decent people in Broward County – they defame all gay people coast to coast.

“Today, he exponentially increased the damage through his frankly shocking, patently false, and bigoted remarks. They are utterly unacceptable coming from anyone, anywhere, anytime. But for them to spew from the mouth of the mayor of a great city with one of the largest gay populations in the nation, a city where gay and lesbian tourists pump $1 billion into the local economy each year is beyond imagining. But that’s the reality we face today.

“Sadly, Mayor Naugle’s comments do more than embarrass any thinking person. They are a stain on the entire city, and even worse, they incite violence and discrimination here and wherever they are heard.

“The only way to begin to overcome this blot and to avoid greater community and economic harm is for every city and county elected official and every civil and religious leader to immediately and unequivocally denounce the Mayor’s remarks, and that certainly includes a vote of censure and repudiation by the City Commission. The mayor must be treated for the bigot that he is and not be welcomed at any event where good people gather. Anything less will not suffice.”

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.