Prince William Supervisors Declare June ‘LGBTQ+’ Pride Month

| June 26, 2018 | 0 Comments | News

Prince William Board of County Supervisors June 26, 2018.

Tuesday June 26, National Pride Day brought a win for the LGBTQ+ community in Prince William County as the Board of County Supervisors voted 5-3 to make June Pride Month for the Northern Virginia jurisdiction. 

The proposal was made by Supervisor Frank Principi of Woodbridge (D). It read “that the Prince William Board of Supervisors declare the month of June to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and more Pride Month.”

Supervisors voting in favor of the proposal were John Jenkin (D-Neabsco), Marty Nohe (R-Coles), Maureen Caddigan (R-Potomac) and Pete Candland (R-Gainesville.)

Those opposed were Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart (R), Jeanine Lawson (R-Brentsville) and Ruth Anderson (R-Occoquan.)

Prince William will be following other Northern Virginia jurisdictions who have declared Pride months including Fairfax County, City of Manassas and Manassas Park.

The issue brought out many people for and against the proposal including LGBTQ+ people and their allies. Those for the proposal argued that Prince William County needs to be an inclusive community and should make gay and LGBTQM people feel welcome.

They said that the symbolic act would go a long way to help children as LGBTQ+ people are more likely to commit suicide if they do not have an accepting family and community.

From an economic perspective, some argued that showcasing that Prince William County is an inclusive community for LGBTQ+ people will help in bringing new employers and jobs to the county.

“Equality is a beautiful word” said one woman, but also are “new jobs,” “housing sales,” and “your favorite word, money.”

A Gainesville District woman noted that these gestures are needed because people still fear discrimination. She said that according to her sources, 46% of gay employees still do not come out for fear of how they will be treated.

Those opposed mainly argued from a religious perspective. Many said that they would not want LGBTQ+ people to be bullied or harassed, but living God’s truth means they need to be honest to people for the sake of their soul, and that they believe that the lifestyle choice is sinful in the eyes of God.

One man said he may accept that people who are LGBTQ+ are born different, he called it a genetic “anomaly” and “an example of something that is broken and defective,” and they should resist their imperfect nature.

Some argued that the LGBTQ+ lifestyle is risky and dangerous, since the gay male community has higher rates of HIV and other STDs. One person also claimed the rate of assault and violence was higher in the gay community.

A woman who worked in criminal justice and supported rape victims said that she has seen more rape and sexual assaults “than any of you,” and she never saw a gay man do anything to harm children. Ironically, she said she has witnessed many preachers charged with sexual abuse.

During the discussions, Supervisor Anderson said she could not support a proposal that would be “divisive” rather than unifying. However, she said “my door is open to anyone. I do not discriminate.”

Supervisor Lawson asked what the “more” stood for in LGBTQ+. Principi said the “more” is meant to be inclusive and for instance would include people who are “asexual” or “pansexual,” meaning not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

Lawson said she was concerned the plus was unclear. “There is an organization of men who enjoy having sex with children. Clearly that is illegal. Folks, I just want to be clear on what we’re voting for. I think it is only fair.”

Allies booed her comments, while the other camp applauded. Lawson said she would not be supporting it for the same reasons Anderson gave.

Lawson also said she is a donor not a director of The Family Foundation after Harry Wiggins, former Chairman of the Prince William Democratic Party, said she was the director of a hate group as per the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Other supervisors spoke of the reasons they wanted to approve Pride Month.

Supervisor Nohe said that he has compassion for those who are different as a father to two African American young men who sometimes feel different. He said he wants to make sure people do not feel like outsiders in their own community.

Perhaps the surprise vote was that of conservative Pete Candland of the Gainesville District.

“No one should be discriminated against- not at work, not at school not in the public square,” Candland said, adding that he would be “heartbroken” if young people felt like outsiders in their community for being LGBTQ.

He also said that it’s important to have community discussions that are civil.

He said it he does not like hearing, “We need to love each other, but ‘you’re a bigot.’ We need to love each other, but ‘you’re not going to heaven.’”

The supervisors also declared Prince William County a “hate free and bigot free zone.”

June 26 is a significant date for the LGBTQ community because is the date that in 2003 the Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled anti-sodomy laws throughout the nation are unconstitutional. Additionally, in 2013, the court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prevented the federal government from recognizes same-sex marriage. Finally, on June 26 on 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges the court struck down all remaining state bans on same-sex marriage, making marriage equality the law of the land.

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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