Pensacola mayor speaks out against hate speech, sorta

Eight days after a group meeting in Pensacola City Hall that joked about passing legislation that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, Mayor Grover Robinson has issued a statement supporting inclusivity and diversity while expressing disappointment about comments made by State Rep. Mike Hill (without naming him).

He made no mention of the LGBTQ community and whether discriminating against them is a “value of Northwest Florida.” He did not mention what comments “discouraged and disappointed” him.

The mayor did not condemn hate speech that joked about laws calling for the death of homosexuals.

From Mayor Robinson:

“The City of Pensacola values the fact that we are a diverse community, and we strongly believe in inclusivity for all people,” said Mayor Robinson. “My objective as Mayor is to find ways to bring our diversity together and work inclusively to make our community better”

He continued, “I am discouraged and disappointed anytime comments are made to disparage a part of our community, especially by an elected leader. However, with diversity comes differences, and the City does not expect everyone to agree. We simply expect those who disagree to be respectful of each other and work together to create an inclusive community.

It’s a Wonder Bread, non-committal weak rebuke with little concern for those under attack. He just as easily could have been talking about a disagreement over whether Florida or Florida State has the best baseball team.

Sadly, Mayor Robinson has missed the point.

Backstory on the incident:

Last week, State Rep. Hill told the Women for Responsible Legislation at its monthly meeting in city hall 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.”

The crowd proceeded to joke about proposing legislation that would make homosexuality a crime.

Neither Hill nor the WRL leaders corrected the situation.