In an interview with The New York Times published on Nov. 20, Vallejo, Calif. Mayor Osby Davis told reporters that gay men and lesbians are "sinners" and will be kept "out of heaven":
The sins that keep you out of heaven are not the just those sins of being gay, those are sins of lying, murdering, unforgiving, all kinds of sins. When you look at anyone you believe is not living a life along the principles of Christianity, you pray for them that they will one day see the error in their ways and change, but you don’t exclude them because Christ died for everybody. So when you look at someone who is gay, you see them as someone Christ died for and you look at them as if they’re in fact committing sin and that sin will keep them out of heaven. But you don’t hate the person; you hate the sin they commit.That comment drew stern criticism from the LGBT community and its allies. (Read GLAAD’s original post about the incident here). Protestors gathered Tuesday night on the steps of Vallejo’s city hall in response to the Mayor’s comments and some advocates have called for the Mayor’s resignation. Mayor Davis issued an apology for his remarks, but qualified that apology by stating his “words were taken out of context.” Today, The New York Times published a follow-up article that recaptures the week’s controversy and provides quotes from both the Mayor’s supporters and those critical of his statement. The Times also provided the entire context of Davis’s interview, along with audio of Davis’s exchange with reporters. The San Francisco Chronicle also published a column on Friday that directly challenged what the columnist considers a half-hearted apology by the Mayor:
The trouble with Davis' claim - and a written apology issued later - is that there is no appropriate context suitable for such a statement, especially when it's uttered by an elected official. What's more, there isn't a resident in the Bay Area who doesn't understand the weight of such a comment.Huffington Post columnist Byron Williams is also sharply critical of Mayor Davis’s apology and suggests that recalling Mayor Davis from his post would be an appropriate course of action:
The mere fact Davis did not know that some would find his statements offensive before he said them is more than enough fodder for a recall. Unless, of course, I am guilty along like others before me, of taking Davis' words out of context.In a statement released on Friday, GLAAD condemned Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis for his defamatory comments:
“These sorts of hateful diatribes should not be spewed by anyone and most certainly not from a public official who was elected to serve all of their constituents.” said GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs, Rashad Robinson. “Mayor Davis’ comments demonstrate a clear bias toward the gay and transgender community and promote anti-gay sentiments."
GLAAD urges media reporting about this story to not only cover Davis’ misinformed remarks but also to examine how the anti-gay attitudes of elected officials impact their diverse constituencies. GLAAD is available to serve as a resource to any media outlet covering this story. GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide is an additional resource which provides helpful information on terminology and background.GLAAD continues to work with Vallejo residents and local activists to ensure fair, accurate, and inclusive coverage of the outrage over Mayor Osby Davis’s anti-gay comments. Updates will continue to be posted on GLAADblog.org.