There is an item in the newspaper this morning about the tiny town of Latta, SC. The police chief was an open lesbian. The new mayor fired her, ostensibly for insubordination, but actually because he didn’t like her lifestyle (at least according to the paper). The upshot was that the town revolted, ending in the mayor being reduced to a figurehead with all the power invested in the town council, which promptly rehired her.
This is amazing. I would have said that SC would be one of the last states to have anything to do with gays (ahead, maybe, of MS and AL). The fact that she was very well known and very well respected obviously made the difference. Still it is remarkable.
You know, I’d come in loaded for bear at the assumption that we redneck hicks ain’t got “anything to do with gays”, but I have to admit I was surprised too to see Latta, of all places, stand behind their police chief. Pleased, but surprised. (We do, however, also have cities here with plenty of gay people in them where life is pretty much like it is in any other US city.)
Officially, I think she was fired because she had received seven written reprimands in just one day (all courtesy of the mayor), to keep it halfway legal in appearance. (Have not been able to find what the reprimands were, though.)
Speaking as a resident, my experience with the south is that while they have no great love for homosexuals as a group, individual homosexuals, especially ones born here, are accepted as readily as in the north.
I read two different articles on this and I say good for Latta!
The chief was also a local girl, so that probably helped. I wonder if the mayor will quit. The chief gets her back pay and such, but he’s still mayor, getting a salary I presume, even if he can’t do anything.
If the council can’t persuade the mayor to quit, they aren’t really trying. Just off the top of my head, a few possible rules:
The mayor must raise his hand and be recognized by the council before speaking.
1a. Yes, this includes requests to leave the room for a potty break.
1b. For the mayor to leave the room without permission during a meeting constitutes resignation of the mayoral office.
1c. Requests for recognition shall be approved or denied within four hours.