It took three tries and criticism from Inweekly and the Pensacola News Journal, but Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson did condemn the statements made at recent meeting of Women for Responsible Legislation at Pensacola City Hall last week.
Inweekly received this statement from the mayor’s office a little before 4 p.m. yesterday:
“The recent comments made by Rep. Mike Hill are absolutely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values of the City of Pensacola in every way. We are a diverse community that embraces everyone, including the LGBTQ community, and to make comments even implying that any individuals in our community should be killed is appalling. This does not reflect who we are in Pensacola, and I’m embarrassed that this happened here. We welcome everyone in Pensacola, and we want all members of our community to feel safe and supported.”Mayor Grover Robinson
Meanwhile Republican and Democratic lawmakers from around the state condemned State Rep. Mike Hill –some calling for him to apologize, others for his resignation:
Statement by Speaker Jose Oliva and Rules Chairman Chris Sprowls on statements made by Representative Mike Hill:
“We unequivocally condemn both the question asked of Representative Hill and Representative Hill’s laughter and refusal to push back and remind his audience that this is America and we don’t stone people to death we disagree with. Such callous indifference to an outrageous question is unacceptable, runs contrary to our founding principles, and in no way reflects the beliefs of the Republican caucus in the Florida House.
“Representative Hill would do well to remember that the only story in the New Testament involving stoning involved Jesus putting a stop to it and saying, ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’
“I believe he owes his colleagues an apology and he owes the Republican caucus a better example of political courage.”
Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa area)
Nothing about this “exchange of jokes” is conservative let alone Christian.
As a Christian who unapologetically believes in religious liberties, this exchange is nothing short of theocratically fascist, unconscionable, and indefensible.
From Rep. Kionne McGhee (D-Miami-Dade):
Dem House Leader@kionnemcghee·19h Florida State Rep. @MikeHillFL should Resign immediately. We are calling for protest and calls to his office. This is not a laughing matter. It’s hateful and doesn’t represent Florida’s values. We stand with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
From Rep. Carlos Smith, an openly gay Orlando Democrat:
I’m shocked & disgusted to discover a colleague who I’ve worked closely with would joke about punishing me by death for being gay. As a survivor of anti-gay hate violence, I know the consequences of homophobia are real. @MikeHillfl should apologize to LGBTQ Floridians or RESIGN.
Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried issued the following statement:
“Part of America’s promise is the freedom of opinion. But public service is a public trust. We must hold the conduct and opinions of our public servants to a higher standard.
In furthering the suggestion that LGBT Floridians should be murdered under Florida law, and that reproductive rights and immigration mean “extermination” of white Americans, Representative Hill and Senator Baxley failed to meet that basic standard.
Whatever their motivations, their remarks were beyond unacceptable. They must apologize, be reprimanded by their legislative chambers, or resign from office.”
Rep. Hill has blocked me from his Twitter account –which may actually be a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law. However, he did tweet a response on Rep. Smith, according to the website Florida Politics:
“Fake news, Carlos! And you know it. I never said I wanted to kill anyone! Instead, I am being attacked because I have made a strong stand to protect the pre-born in the womb.”
At the same May 23 WRL meeting, Hill told the audience that God had told him to file an anti-abortion bill that had no exceptions or restrictions.
According to Florida Politics, Hill also responded to Miami Herald reporter Samantha J. Gross‘ tweet that Hill told her earlier in the day “he did not recall laughing and hardly remembered the constituent’s comment.”
“That was before I heard the audio,” he tweeted back. “This event happened a week ago Thursday. I laughed at the nonsense of running legislation that the gentleman in the audience suggested. And you know it. Don’t join the #FakeNewsMedia.”
Listen for yourself: