Fenty's ex-gay blunder so stupid it can't be sinister
A modestly sized Facebook group has popped up this week promoting the notion that D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, the same man who steadfastly supported the local marriage equality movement and hosted an elaborate signing ceremony for the bill earlier this year, ought to be uninvited from participating in the 2010 Capital Pride festivities.
How did this happen? Some combination of carelessness and election year politics, it seems.
News broke last week that Fenty had inadvertently signed a certificate of appreciation honoring Regina Griggs, the leader of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, also known as PFOX. It's one of these shameful groups that tries to convince gay men and women that they can be "rehabilitated" into being heterosexual.
For all of Fenty's faults, being unfriendly to the LGBT community is not one of them. The day after PFOX sent out a press release touting the mayor's support of Griggs, his office apologized, calling the commendation a "staff-level error" that "runs contrary to the mayor’s vision of a more open and inclusive city."
A stupid mistake? Yes. So stupid, in fact, that I actually believe this explanation. The mayor of any big city is asked to sign countless certificates of this kind, and in this case, the vetting process broke down. Big time.
D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who is running against Fenty for mayor, was quick to jump on the error, issuing a statement calling on the mayor to do more than just apologize. Gray called Fenty's mistake "an insult to the LGBT community" and "an embarrassment to our city." And it those things. But it was also surely not on purpose.
The organizers of the "Un-Invite Mayor Fenty from Capital Pride" Facebook page are calling on Fenty to go one step further and rescind the honor that was accidentally given to PFOX, as well as issue a statement condemning the ex-gay group and its mission.
It's not clear that rescinding such a declaration is actually possible; my repeated inquiries to mayoral spokespeople on the subject have gone unanswered. They should absolutely find out if it can be done, and if it can, Fenty should get busy rescinding. But the idea that a mayor who supported and signed one of the most progressive pieces of same-sex marriage legislation in the country should be banned from the city's gay pride celebration is ridiculous.
Sommer Mathis is editor-in-chief of DCist.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
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