Bob Buckhorn: Repealing Hillsborough ban on gay pride activities is the right thing — and good business
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Tuesday joined U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in urging the Hillsborough County Commission to repeal an 8-year-old ban on the county government acknowledging, promoting or participating in gay pride activities. The ban was enacted in 2005 at the urging of then-Commissioner Ronda Storms.
"I hope my comments are received in the spirit of cooperation in which they are offered," Buckhorn said in a letter to County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan. "I am very respectful of the role of the County Commission and rarely, if at all, offer any public comment on the proceedings of this body."
That said, Buckhorn added that "it is my humble opinion that if we are to achieve the greatness that is within our grasp it requires a recognition that in our diversity we are stronger." Buckhorn said local efforts to attract young professionals, new businesses and intellectual capital depend on creating a welcoming atmosphere for everyone, "regardless of the god they worship or who they love."
"Your vote to reverse the decision of a previous board that prohibits that recognition of any LGBT event will speak volumes about how far we have come as a community," Buckhorn adds. "It is not a moral question, but rather an acknolwedgement that the contributions of each of us matter. It is my belief that we are better together, we are stronger together and we will rise together or we will fail alone.
He concludes: "This community can ill afford any of us to be left behind or left out. The work ahead needs everyone involved."