The controversy over Mayor JuliÃ¡n Castro's decision to serve as Grand Marshal of SA's July 4 Gay Pride parade, heretofore confined to talk-radio rants and constituent emails, briefly spilled onto the Council floor this morning.
Shirley Thompson, a former mayoral candidate, addressed the issue by telling the Mayor: "There is one standard for all of us, and that's righteousness." She added, in a slightly bewildering reference to the City's periodic clean-zone ordinances (such as the one that kept merchants from parts of downtown during last season's Final Four), "The clean zone that you want for the City is the clean zone that He makes available to us." As she concluded her statement, Council irritant (and vehement gay-rights opponent) Jack Finger applauded.
Thompson later told QueBlog that she believes elected officials should maintain a "neutral stance" on the issue of gay rights, a point made by many of Castro's critics this week. It's hard to imagine, however, that Thompson, an African-American woman old enough to remember the days of segregation, would have defended a "neutral stance" from politicians in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. Of course, convincing people to view equality for gays as a civil-rights â?? rather than a lifestyle-choice â?? issue has long been the most frustrating challenge for gay rights activists.