The Hillsborough County (Fla.) commission recently voted "not to acknowledge, promote or participate in gay pride events." Right after the July 15 vote, two gay literature displays in the Tampa public library were taken down (a similar display at another library was taken down before the vote).
So yesterday about 5,000 people gathered in Tampa for a "Pride Is Back" march. Marchers didn't have a permit, but 10 Tampa police officers, several of them gay or lesbian, volunteered to help out with the event, cordoning off a route and directing traffic. "Tampa police support all the residents of the city," the department's liaison with the gay community told the Tampa Tribune.
Commissioner Ronda Storms pushed the proposal and got it passed with only one dissenting vote. From the Tribune:
"You can respect somebody's human dignity and treat them with courtesy, but I'm still not going to promote what you do," Storms said last week.
Among the marchers was at least one who wanted to thank the commissioners who voted against supporting gay pride.
"The best thing that ever happened to us was Ronda Storms," a man who identified himself as R. Zeke Fread said as he waved a rainbow flag. "She got us all together."