Oceanside, Calif., official looks to limit hate speech

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 13 2001 1:00 AM ET

A city councilwoman in Oceanside, Calif., says she wants to pass guidelines that will ensure that antigay and other discriminatory remarks are not made at events involving city participation, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Esther Sanchez’s plan was prompted by remarks made by a local pastor during a Martin Luther King Jr. awards program at a local high school in January. In his speech, the Rev. Barry Cook called homosexuality an “immoral sexual preference” and said it should not be linked with the issue of racism. Although the awards ceremony was not sponsored by the city, it was attended by city officials and has been broadcast on a local cable network that receives city funding. “We really do not want to preach hate here,” Sanchez said in support of her plan. In response to Sanchez, the Reverend Cook said that although he does not support homosexuality, he would never urge violence against gay men and lesbians and that he would intervene if they were being abused. However, he added, he believes “gay parades” with “people walking half dressed down the street” harm gay people more than speeches like his.