David Caton on Tampa City Council transgender vote : I thought Scott would vote against it, Caetano told me he didn't want to be only no vote

Yesterday's 5-1 vote by the Tampa City Council to add transgender people to its human rights ordinance included plenty of drama - mostly in the form of the public comments made by those in support and against the resolution.

But that was nothing compared to what was going on behind closed doors, apparently.

David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, writes on his web site that he met during the meeting with Commission Chairman Thomas Scott and the City Attorney (Chip Fletcher?) to know "what wording changes needed to be made to correct the situation."

Caton writes that the wording by definition included transvestites and said they'd be permitted to use women's restrooms.

He then writes:

Pastor Scott told me that he could not support language that protected transvestites.  He thought it protected only those seeking sex change operations even though he had already heard two transvestites testify that morning that most transgenders do not have the money to have an operation therefore they are transvestites.

I informed him that transvestites make up the largest percentage of the transgender movement which is a major part of the homosexual agenda.

He said he could not support that.

I left the side room believing that Pastor and Council Chair Tom Scott would vote against the ordinance.

Tom Scott followed me out the door of the side room where he caught the eyes of Joseph Caetano.  Joseph Caetano says Tom Scott’s smile and short words lead him to believe that somehow I agree to a change in wording of the ordinance.

If you were at the meeting or watching from home, you may have noticed that City Attorney Fletcher came before the Council before their final vote to discuss how the resolution was focusing on gender identity.  He cited a phrase that the city of Gainsville had included in their legislation that he called helpful.  That being "the inner sense of being a specific gender."

Caton writes incredulously:

What could Pastor and Council Chair Tom Scott believe that adding the words “the inner sense of being a specific gender” to the existing definition would eliminate transvestites from the ordinance?  Adding this language actually increased the protection for transvestites because it made it ever clearer that a “physical” sex change was unnecessary to prove the ordinance applied to transvestites.

In Scott's closing remarks, which drew praise from various media organizations (including this one) he did say "this ordinance does not address transvestites. "

I bring this up because Caton obviously felt otherwise, and is aggrieved that what he thought was agreed upon behind closed doors was not what actually happened.

Caton also describes his conversation before the meeting with Councilman Joseph Caetano, who has been known to frequently vote in accordance with what Charlie Miranda does.

With Councilman Miranda making it clear that he was going to vote against the ordinance, Caton says he sidled up to Caetano before the vote and informed him of that.  He also writes this :

Councilmember Joseph Caetano, the only Republican on the Tampa City Council, voted for it.  Caetano blamed it on believing that Tom Scott cut a deal with me.  By the way I do NOT cut political deals on moral issues.  Additionally, Caetano told me that he did not want to be the only no vote so he voted yes.

According to Caton, Caetano didn't know that Miranda would be voting no, thus would not be the lone no vote.  But he's also saying that because Scott and Caton had come out of the room seeming to agree, it was okay for him to vote FOR the measure.

Either way, the New Tampa representative doesn't come out of Caton's account looking too good. Of course, this is just David Caton's take.   CL has attempted to speak with Caetano, Caton, and City Attorney Chip Fletcher for comment.  If and when we hear from them, we will certainly update this post.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]