During the five-year debate ahead of Jacksonville codifying LGBT rights in its Human Rights Ordinance this week, opponents often couched their rhetoric in the Christian gospels.
However, with the bill having passed, the gospel of love has morphed into the rhetoric of hate.
Getting the worst of it: Mayor Lenny Curry, who respected the supermajority of the City Council and did not veto the bill, even as he made it clear Tuesday evening that he believed the legislation “was unnecessary. But this evening, a supermajority of the City Council decided otherwise. This supermajority, representatives of the people from both parties and every corner of the city, made their will clear.”
In other words, Curry was respecting the City Council’s prerogative to set policy, his own position on the bill notwithstanding.
However, some of Curry’s erstwhile supporters seem to believe that he should have usurped the authority of the council and forced a confrontation with the legislative branch over this issue.
Consider a text Curry received Wednesday from Nancy McGowan, who apparently is a Republican activist.
“Why did you run for mayor Lenny? To implement a blessing on homosexuality and a mental disorder called transgenderism? What a disgrace you are as a former Republican. As a former Christian and most importantly the legacy you have left to your own children and those in the community. You should have never run for office as you have compromised the very person you were and that is so sad. You lied to all those who supported you and for what gain?”
McGowan’s position is remarkable, as Curry never said he would veto a bill, just that he wasn’t going to push a bill through.
He told media that he would stay out of the process with the City Council, and he did just that.
McGowan’s decision to attempt to read a former Republican Party of Florida chair out of the party is an odd one for her to have made. And her decision to question Curry’s faith goes beyond oddness.
Curry forwarded these texts to his chief of staff, noting that “people should not be texting me stuff about city business. Please get those text messages in my city email account so we are in compliance with public records laws.”
And in that inbox, the text messages became part of an anthology of vitriol, in which character assassinations abounded because he didn’t thwart the will of the council — all 19 members of which were duly elected, just like the mayor.
Another all-star of recent public comment periods, Pastor Wade Mask, also impugned the mayor’s integrity in an email.
“I was encouraged when I was part of a group that met with you last year. You did not commit to anything, but constructed what you said in such a way that I certainly believed that you were with us. Was I ever wrong,” Mask wrote.
Curry, wrote Mask, “could have vetoed it and made them overturn it with the twelve or if Ms. Brown showed up by making her vote one way or the other.”
[Editor’s Note: LOL]
Mask had hoped that one day Curry would be governor. But not now, alas.
“There is an old country saying, ‘Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.’ I will not be fooled again,” Mask added.
Still more feedback greeted the mayor in his email box.
Angela Strong wrote the following: “This is a very family oriented town with values and morals that we can be proud of. I would think that in light of the results of the Presidential race and the obvious majority voting for American values that you would know in your heart that if you wish to be supported in the future you might want to pay closer attention to what the families of your city want for our children’s future.”
Pastor Jim Wilder mused that “The only problem is that this violates the word of God. May God have mercy on your souls!”
Larry McQueeney contended that “the fact you did not veto that hideous bill makes me sick to my stomach. That is intellectually dishonest and morally wrong. You have betrayed the people of your hometown to get what? A state appointment? Really?”
Keri Petty, meanwhile, wanted to see Curry primaried should be not veto the bill.
“Lastly, this legislation as w/all LGBT legislation(local, state, & federal)has nothing to do with “equality”, but REDEFINITION! They’re wanting to redefine the normal boundaries of civilization for the last 5,000 to 7,000 years. I voted for you & I’m hoping to vote for you again should you choose to run again. However, if you approve this bill, you will not have my vote & I hope the Republican Party will bring a strong Republican candidate that would consider the issues of the MAJORITY of the population of the city to run against you in the primary,” Petty wrote.
Carol Thomas, likewise, was irked.
“If you think you covered your butt by not signing the HRO 2017-15 Ordinance the council foolishly and despicably passed, I wouldn’t count on it. We know it came in under your watch and we know what you did to stop it. Nothing,” Thomas wrote.
“Can’t wait to vote against you. How long do I have to wait? If there is a recall effort, I’ll be in on it. This was not what I voted for. False advertising! Family values, my granny! But aren’t you modern! So was ancient Rome, when it wasn’t ancient. How spineless can you be? I’ll be looking for your name on ballots for years to come, just for the pleasure of voting against you,” Thomas added.
Karl Klein had this take: “A super-majority on one vote is not the fig leaf you think it is. You can and should veto the ordinance anyway. Make the City Council revote and see if they can maintain the super-majority. You have gone back on your word and betrayed the people who voted you into office. With Republicans like you, there is no need for Democrats. I will do everything I can to ensure you are never elected to any position in government.”
And John Green had this measured insight: “This will be your Legacy – ‘One Term Curry let the HBO pass on his watch’.”
Certainly, more communiques like these are on their way to Curry’s inbox. Thus far, though, the vituperation is outstripping the congratulation.