First, though, know that I have written a column for The Western Tribune about John McCain and the release of his medical records and why they disqualify him from being president. Read it Wednesday, in the paper, or on this site.
Birmingham fell on its face last year.
Then Birmingham took a giant step forward.
Now, under the leadership of Larry Langford, Birmingham is renewing its old, tired attitude of intolerance and bigotry. Langford is refusing to grant Central Alabama Pride a parade permit for their annual Gay Pride Parade, which has been a part of the festivities of Pride since 1989.
Langford said "I just don't condone the lifestyle". Mayor, we might not condone your lifestyle either (and apparently the SEC and the justice department also doesn't), but this is not about how one leads their life, it is about who one is, about one's very being.
"It's not a civil rights issue, its a personal choice issue." Ignore science. Ignore medicine. Ignore all current knowledge about the origins of sexuality and call it a choice.
No, I will tell you what is a choice, Larry. Making a conscious decision to discriminate, to be intolerant, that is a choice, your choice.
Fortunately, the parade is not the main event of Pride, it is a "fun" event. But it plays an important role in that it allows families, gay and straight, to come together and enjoy floats and beads and candy. It allows people who are questioning their own sexuality to see from a distance (of sort) others who are out and comfortable that have been through what they are going through.
There are other events of Pride...10 days of events, including an art show, Pridefest with music and vendors, bowling, faith events and more. Central Alabama Pride
My advice to the organizers of Pride? Hold the parade in another city. Homewood, perhaps, or Tuscaloosa or (gasp!) Bessemer. Not that we can be sure mayors of those cities believe in equality, but you know, we need to know who our friends are.
And march with or without a permit up to city hall and into the next council meeting in protest. As of May 15 2007 Birmingham is an inclusive city that believes in acceptance and rejects intolerance and bigotry, according to the resolution. Stand up, Birmingham.
Kathy has a good write up about this too at Birmingham Blues.