Political figures are put into office not because of their religious views, but because of their views on doing what is best for the citizens. In 2011, the then Mayor Fretti signed a proclamation from South Georgia Pride setting Sept. 15, 2011 aside as South Georgia Pride, a day dedicated to the fight against bullying, hate crimes, and other forms of discrimination; and advocating equality for all. The proclamation gave citizens something to be proud of their city for. Their mayor had made a statement that he would not stand for bullying and discrimination in Valdosta, GA.
This year, South Georgia Pride presented the same proclamation to current mayor John Gayle, requesting that he sign and show his support for fighting against discrimination. Mayor Gayle refused to sign the proclamation twice. During a visit with the mayor, Asst. Executive Director of SGP, Raynae Williams, was told by the mayor that because of his strong convictions and beliefs, he could not sign our proclamation and support gay marriage. The proclamation nevers states a position on gay marriage, nor was Mayor Gayle asked to support gay marriage. When asked if he was saying he was discriminating against the LGBT people, he said "if that is how you interpret it, then yes."
South Georgia Pride's proclamation can be found at http://www.facebook.com/groups/southgapride/doc/10151056541684271/.
South Georgia Pride's proclamation is the only one to be denied by Mayor Gayle this year. Mayor Gayle should understand that he represents the citizens of Valdosta, and many of those citizens are a part of a group that at some point has experienced discrimination and hate. Join us to day to tell Mayor Gayle to stand up against discrimination and hate; join the side of equality for all!