A group of gay and lesbian Fort Lauderdale residents want Mayor Jim Naugle to resign because of his plans to install public toilets that would deter gay sexual activities.
“We ask for the mayor to stop tarnishing the reputation of Fort Lauderdale with his ignorance and bigotry and resign,” said Wayman Hudson with Unite Fort Lauderdale, a newly created coalition of citizens, organizations and businesses in the community.
Wearing bright yellow shirts that read, “Flush Naugle,” Hudson and other members of the group said the mayor’s recently published comments about the gay community are an example of his homophobia and bigotry.
Naugle proposed spending $250,000 on robotic toilets in the bathrooms at city-owned public parks because he said it would discourage sexual activity inside a bathroom stall. The toilet has a door that automatically opens after a period of time.
“He has chosen to use ignorant stereotypes to excuse an absurd plan to spend $250,000 on a robotic toilet to combat a problem that does not exist,” said Hudson.
Naugle denied accusations of homophobia. “I’m not a bigot,” he said. “I’m not a homophobe. I voted to hire the first openly gay city manager. I worked side by side with him for over a year.”
Naugle also said he would not resign.
“I’m going to go on being myself and speaking the truth,” Naugle said. “Sometimes the truth, when some people don’t agree with it, becomes hate speech.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 13, 2007