TUCKER, Ga. — Tucker residents are up in arms over offensive remarks made by the mayor at a recent city meeting over an LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination ordinance.
The comments made by Mayor Frank Auman, which have been deemed hurtful, have reignited the push for a proposed ordinance aimed at preventing discrimination within Tucker businesses.
During the city council meeting on May 8, Auman made remarks expressing skepticism about the "scientific foundation" of various sexual orientations and expressions; the mayor's words, captured in a recording posted on the city's website, have raised concerns about his understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the meeting, he states:
"We are far from a consensus about a science behind various sexual preferences, orientations and expressions," Auman said, adding later, "When we talk about passing an ordinance that elevates a new class of descriptors, to be on par with what African Americans and have endured and what it took for women to get to vote..."
Auman's controversial comments were made in the context of a discussion centered around a proposed ordinance that aims to prevent discrimination in Tucker businesses, specifically LGBTQ+ people.
"I said during my concession speech that he had evolved in his community," Robin Biro, a Tucker resident who identifies as gay and previously ran for mayor, said. "But he showed that night that that was absolutely not the case."
The mayor's remarks have been interpreted as dismissive of the lived experiences and challenges faced by marginalized communities. Biro highlighted the mayor's failure to uphold his promise of evolving alongside the community.
"It's a real problem and one that the city needs to do a better job of protecting people who live, work, pray here," he said.
Councilmember Alexis Weaver, another vocal critic of Auman's remarks, denounced their harmful impact on the LGBTQIA+ community. Weaver underscored the significance of the ordinance as a representation of the community's values and its role in fostering an environment that celebrates diversity and inclusivity.
"I also found them harmful to the LGBT community and believe that our LGBTQ citizens deserve better than the remarks that were made," Weaver said.
Weaver emphasized that the purpose of the meeting was to further the ongoing conversation initiated by residents in favor of the nondiscrimination ordinance.
Despite attempts to seek clarification, Mayor Frank Auman's office declined an interview request with 11Alive regarding his comments, citing his unavailability. However, the mayor has organized a town hall event tomorrow to discuss the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance. Regrettably, the event will only be open to individuals with invitations and tickets, potentially limiting access for community members eager to engage in the dialogue.
"We have a great diverse community," Weaver said, "which is one of the reasons why I think the nondiscrimination ordinance is so important. It's a way of representing our values."