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June 04, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, June 04, 2004

MV Council declares Gay Pride Month MV Council declares Gay Pride Month (June 04, 2004)

City leaders consider it a civil rights issue

By Corey Pride

The Mountain View City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to officially recognize June as Gay Pride Month in an attempt to promote tolerance and diversity.

The decision to acknowledge the month as one designated to homosexuals' struggle for acceptance and equal rights comes on the heels of the Los Altos City Council declaring June 7 Gay Pride Day.

Mountain View Council member Rosemary Stasek spearheaded the proposal to make June Gay Pride Month. She said her idea had nothing to do with any other city's stance on the issue.

"We are very sensitive to gay and lesbian issues, and I think it's a wonderful way to recognize diversity in our community," Stasek said.

Mountain View is not scheduled to hold any specific events connected with Gay Pride Month, Stasek said, but it is important the city give acknowledgement and support to the organizations in the Bay Area that will hold events in June.

Council member Greg Perry said there are civil rights questions for homosexuals that are yet to be addressed, and he believes recognizing the month will help those issues come to the forefront.

Gay rights has also been a contentious issue at the federal level this political season as President Bush informally called for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Council member Mike Kasperzak said he is not worried about a public backlash to the council approving Gay Pride Month.

"If people had started looking at a backlash to African-American civil rights, we wouldn't be where we are today. I think you have to approve Gay Pride Month because it's the right thing to do. I'm not worried about a backlash," Kasperzak said.

He said some people may be against the council's decision because there isn't a designated month for straight people; however, he doesn't believe there needs to be one.

"Straights aren't discriminated against as a class per se the way gays are," Kasperzak said.

In the past, the city council passed laws supporting gay rights. In 2000, the council passed domestic partnership benefits for city employees. The equal opportunity employment law in the city also includes sexual orientation in its language outlining groups that cannot be discriminated against for a job.

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