City Council gives group special status

Last week, State Rep. Mike Hill was the featured speaker of Women for Responsible Legislation, which meets monthly in Pensacola City Hall.

Hill, who failed to get any of his bills passed in the 2019 legislative session, used part of his time to denounce a proposal that would have protected LGBTQ community from discrimination, and he didn’t challenge a statement from the audience that said that homosexuals should be put to the death.

The incident was set up by WRL organizer Barbara Mayall who asked Hill why he thought State Rep. Alex Andrade had supported a bill offering protections for the LGBTQ community against discrimination in employment, housing and public places.

Hill proceeded to tell the small crowd that being gay didn’t meet the standards of a protected status because it was “a choice.”

“It’s a behavior, and it’s a choice,” Hill said. “You can say, ‘But I was born that way.’ OK, well, fine, but nobody’s forcing you to engage in that relationship, even if you were born that way.”

He went on to say that the LGBTQ bill was “not the value of Northwest Florida.”

When a man in the audience said, “In I Corinthians, it says that a man that has an affair with another man will be put to death,” Hill replied, “Says that in the Old Testament, too.”

Do these attacks on the LGBTQ community represent the views of Northwest Florida? Of the City of Pensacola? Of the Pensacola City Council?

The City Council Policy Manual has a section on the use of city hall meeting rooms. The section specifically lists five Outside Agencies/Groups that can hold monthly meetings at city hall:

  • West Florida Regional Planning Council and its subcommittees
  • Community Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission
  • Chamber of Commerce and tourism and economic development pressers
  • Pensacola Navy League
  • Women for Responsible Legislation

What is the “responsible legislation” that WRL is promoting?