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Dick Palmer: Gay veto just one more gap in rift between Doty, council

Mayor Doty is taking some heat from the GLBT, which when translated means the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks in our community. They are seeking a citywide proclamation of community endorsement for their annual Pride Festival schedul...

Mayor Doty is taking some heat from the GLBT, which when translated means the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks in our community. They are seeking a citywide proclamation of community endorsement for their annual Pride Festival scheduled Aug. 31 through Sept. 3.
It sounds reasonable, but wait a minute, something isn't right here. The present makeup of our City Council is once again stumbling around trying to muscle their influence by interpreting the official position of city government. This GLBT thing is just one more example of a City Council action without serious responsibility and direction.
Before tempers fly, let's look at the implications of this initiative. For the past 21 years, this Pride Festival has been a part of Duluth's landscape and, it appears, interest in this event is growing.
I don't have a problem with this. Duluthians, like most Americans today, are accepting a more liberal and understanding position on human rights, religious preferences and yes, sexual orientation.
Some of us are still set in our ways and have trouble adjusting to changing social patterns and interests, but America is America. Diversity is part of our social framework, and we should be thankful for it. Do we, as individuals, endorse all social and religious changes going on around us? Certainly not, but we accept them or reject them because we are individuals with a choice. That's the beauty of our society today.
Honestly, I don't think the Duluth City Council should have gotten into this issue in the first place. What's the point? It was obvious from the start that some councilors would be opposed to a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender endorsement, so the result was predictable. This vote would not be unanimous and certainly would not represent the views of the majority of citizens.
The event would come off with or without official endorsement, so politically, why stir up the waters with diversity, controversy and yet another attempt to show the mayor who is the boss in this city. Remember, the Duluth City Charter gives the mayor administrative powers including proclamations, and the council members are the legislators.
Mayor Doty says the majority of responses to the council's 6 to 3 vote urged him to veto the measure. Doty has never flaunted his religious preferences in public, and that's as it should be. He vetoed the measure because he claims he read the minds of people who had contacted him and pursued his conscience. So who is right and who is wrong?
Overall sexual orientation is not the issue here, but the council has gone out of its way to make it one. Let's move on.
Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached by phone at 729-6470 or by e-mail at rpalmer@duluth.com

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