The other day we mentioned that Equality Texas and The Equality Network of Oklahoma are hosting a joint fundraiser/watch party at the Brick in Dallas during Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma football game. But regardless of whether the Sooners prevail on the gridiron, it looks like the Equality Network will be celebrating a victory (and no, we’re not referring to Thursday night’s dramatic comeback win by Oklahoma State over Texas A&M). On Tuesday, the city council in Norman, which is home to OU, voted 7-1 to declare October as GLBT history month in the city. It may not sound like a very big deal, but in a state that’s home to politicians like Sally Kern, it’s progress. According to The Oklahoman, one councilmember said he received messages on his answering machine that “threatened [his] livelihood” if he supported the proposal. And about 100 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, with about half supporting the proposal and half opposing it. Here’s a report from The Equality Network:
Norman City Council Makes Historic Vote
September 30, 2010 – Norman, Oklahoma – On Tuesday evening, after four hours of impassioned debate, the Norman City Council voted 7 to 1 to declare October LGBT history month. The vote makes Norman the first municipality in the state to issue an offical proclamation honoring the historic contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
The vigorous discussion included citizens with wildly divergent opinions on LGBT equality. When faced with the final vote, many councilors attested to the galvanizing effect that being bombarded by sometimes vitriolic anti-gay sentiment had upon them. Doug Cubberley, the councilor representing Ward 7, expressed concern that while his district was evenly split on whether or not to support the declaration, he felt morally compelled to support it. His colleague from Ward 6, James Griffith, asserted that while he had been intitially inclined to oppose the resolution, constituent feedback changed his mind. Griffith admitted that he had not known that an Oklahoma citizen can still be legally fired from his or her job or evicted from a rented property solely on the basis of sexual orientation. Mayor Cindy Rosenthal added her strong support for the LGBT History Month proclamation. Councilor Dan Quinn, representing Ward 8, cast the lone dissenting vote.
“We are very inspired by tonight’s overwhelming recognition of the invaluable and vibrant role of LGBT people in our nation’s history. With this vote, the Norman City Council honors that rich legacy and makes a powerful statement about inclusivity and fairness in our state.” asserted Kathy L. Williams, Ph.D., president of The Equality Network.
A full text of the LGBT History Month proclamation can be found here.