NORMAN - Emotions ran high Tuesday night at Norman City Council as more than 100 people turned out to debate a proposed proclamation designating October as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.
The proclamation presented by the city's Human Rights Commission is designed to promote understanding and fair treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, Chairman Michael Ridgeway said.
These people "feel bullied, treated unfairly and are often discriminated against," Ridgeway said.
"I believe we should treat all people the same, but I don't think it is necessary to single out a group as being different. We're all different," said Dawn Hanson.
Fred Pope said the council should reject the proclamation because it undermines raising a family and promotes a destructive lifestyle.
"It is dangerous to the community," he said.
Passing a proclamation "only serves to highlight the issue," Joe Love said. "The majority of the community doesn't want to have this argument. What you decide to do in the privacy of your own home, that's your business. I don't see it is an appropriate subject to dwell on."
Tammy Day thanked the Human Rights Commission for presenting the proclamation "because it is hard to sit here and be demeaned. So many comments are made out of a lack of understanding. The assumption is that everybody is straight. You need to be aware of those of us who don't fit into the majority."
A gay high school student urged the council to pass the proclamation "because maybe it will help us not to be hurt so much."
Another student said she has been harassed and bullied because she supports the gay community, although she is straight.
"For many years, Norman has had a history of tolerance," Libba Smith said. "It would be a black mark against the city if we voted down this proclamation."