TAMPA - After an eight year hiatus, Hillsborough County will now be able to officially support and recognize gay pride events. A unanimous, 7-0 vote overturned a ban on such recognition put in place in 2005.
Commissioner Kevin Beckner led the effort to repeal the ban that earned Hillsborough Country Government a reputation of steadfast conservatism among supporters and regressive homophobia among detractors.
Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor cast the sole vote against the ban as a Commissioner in 2005. In a statement today, Castor said, " Hillsborough County residents should applaud our local leadership for repealing the discriminatory policy, which became a symbol for prejudice and intolerance. It hurt our community economically and culturally. Now we can turn the page."
Before the vote, Commissioner Les Miller said, "It's time to repeal this ugly ordinance that hangs over the head of the County."
More supporters of lifting the ban filled the Commission chambers than opponents, but conservative activist Terry Kemple called the effort to repeal the ban a "crusade" to recognize homosexual behavior.