Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a statement Tuesday, July 24 responding to an anti-LGBTQ group’s recent criticism over his appearance in the Houston Pride parade in June.
“This is the most diverse city in America,” Turner said. “We acknowledge and celebrate that diversity in all its dimensions. You can be diverse and yet separate, segregated and apart. As Mayor of this City, I want us to be diverse and inclusive, and I want to live in a City where people can be who they are and we can be tolerant of people’s opinions, ideologies, sexual orientation, ethnicities, religion and/or cultures.”
Turner was on a trade mission to South America last week when the Houston Area Pastor Council sent an email to supporters accusing the mayor of “personally promoting the agenda to tear down historic Judeo-Christian based (SIC) sexual morality, marriage and male-female distinctions, per his enthusiastic participation in the 2018 Houston LGBTQ Pride Parade.”
The Pastor Council’s email was part of a flurry of anti-LGBTQ attacks that began when Councilman Michael Kubosh criticized the Houston Public Library’s Drag Queen Storytime program during a July 17 meeting.
On July 20, anti-LGBTQ activist Steven Hotze launched a petition calling on city council members to ban Drag Queen Storytime. Hotze leads the Conservative Republicans of Texas, which is considered an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Both Hotze and the Pastor Council played major roles in the successful campaign to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in 2015.