St. Petersburg City Council signs LGBT Pride Month proclamation, but Mayor Foster doesn't

All 8 St Pete City Council Members Sign LGBT Pride Month Proclamation
St Petersburg, FL, Thursday, June 13, 2013 — Mid-way through LGBT Pride Month, St Pete Pride is pleased to announce all eight members of St Petersburg City Council, which include Charlie Gerdes, Jim Kennedy, Bill Dudley, Leslie Curran, Steve Kornell, Karl Nurse, Wengay Newton, and Jeff Danner, have signed the LGBT Pride Month Proclamation for St Petersburg.

Council Member Jeff Danner, [in] whose district the annual St Pete Pride events are primarily held, read aloud the proclamation which stated: “the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community is inclusive of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, nieces and nephews who contribute to making St Petersburg a beautiful place to live, work and play.” He concluded the proclamation by stating, “we the Members of St Petersburg City Council do hereby proclaim the month of June, 2013 LGBT Pride Month in St Petersburg and urge all citizens to join in eliminating discrimination in all forms, and to celebrate the diversity of our community.”

This is the first proclamation signed by all eight members of the St Petersburg City Council in St Pete Pride’s eleven year history.

Eric Skains, Executive Director of St Pete Pride, addressed City Council by stating: “On behalf of St Pete Pride staff and board members, we are extremely excited to receive this proclamation today. Only those of us within St Pete would have imaged the largest Pride in Florida would have happened in just ten short years; an event that brings to the city an economic impact of over $10 million. And although we often focus on the single event, Pride represents so many things to so many people — a right to be and sense of belonging. If it weren’t for the shaming and discrimination towards the gay community that led to the Stonewall Riots, there would have been no need for a day to stand up to be seen.”

St Pete Pride will kick off St Pete Pride Carnivale, a five day celebration of the LGBT community, with events in downtown St Petersburg and the Grand Central District June 26 through 30. In total, St Pete Pride Carnivale has an estimated economic impact of $10.7 million to the City of St Petersburg and Pinellas County, of which $5.4 million is in direct visitor expenditures, according to a study done by Research Data Services of Tampa.

All eight St. Petersburg City Council members signed a proclamation today citing June as LGBT Pride Month in the city, the first time the entire Council has done so, said St. Pete Pride Executive Director Eric Skains.
St. Petersburg's mayor, Bill Foster, did not sign the proclamation. According to Skains, Councilwoman Leslie Curran asked, "Is there a line so the mayor can go ahead and sign this, too?" — and "there was just silence."
Skains and Pinellas Stonewall Democrats president Susan McGrath have been trying for months to get a response from the mayor's office about a proclamation, but without success. Today, however, following the Council's action, Foster approached Skains and McGrath and asked for a meeting next week. He told them he was still unable to sign the proclamation because St. Pete Pride is too "adult-themed," but he's willing to talk about doing something "more generic," said Skains.
Although St. Petersburg is home to the biggest pride celebration in Florida, Tampa beat it to the punch proclamation-wise. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn issued a proclamation declaring June to be LGBT Pride Month in the City of Tampa at the beginning of the month.
Read St. Pete Pride's press release after the jump.


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