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The Ugly, Homophobic Reactions To Orlando Shooting Tributes

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/BAR BAR BLACK SHEEP
CREDIT: FACEBOOK/BAR BAR BLACK SHEEP

In the week after the Orlando shooting, the country joined arms in grief and sympathy. But actually honoring the LGBT dead is a bit too much for a few people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality.

A Flag Of Oppression

Hillsborough County, home to the city of Tampa, chose to fly the pride flag over the county center as a sign of respect and remembrance, but it was just a bit too provocative for one county leader. Commissioner Stacy White (R) worried that the waving rainbow was actually burdening the county’s Christian employees.

On Thursday, White sent an email to Peggy Rowe, the county human relations director, informing her that he’d received an anonymous complaint from an employee who felt that walking past the pride flag every day was “nearly unbearable” and created a “hostile work environment.”

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White added his own thoughts that the pride flag was a “divisive, politically-charged symbol” that he worried would become an HR problem. He also called for a special meeting of the county commission — which had voted 5–1 on Wednesday to raise it — to consider removing it. White had not been present at that meeting. Even if there’s no HR issue, he wrote, he finds it “unconscionable that the county administrator didn’t express to the board that this divisive symbol might create an uncomfortable workplace environment for many of his employees.”

A similar controversy played out last week when officials in Cole County, Missouri refused to follow President Obama’s order to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff. After enduring a day of public outrage, they changed their mind and complied.

A City Unworthy Of Sympathy

One Florida official really wasn’t interested in doing anything to honor Orlando or the victims at Pulse. Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis took to his Facebook page after the shooting to lambaste the city for having “no bottom,” calling for it to be “leveled” because “it is void of a single redeeming quality.”

CREDIT: Screenshot/WESH
CREDIT: Screenshot/WESH

Lewis also referred to nightclub goers as “3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs.” In a separate post, he added, “All Orlando nightclubs should be permanently closed. With or without random gunmen they are zoos,; utter cesspools of debauchery.”

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For violating the State Attorney’s Office’s social media policy, Lewis was suspended Friday. He previously faced trouble for his use of social media in 2014 when he posted a Mother’s Day message addressed to “all the crack hoes out there.”

Coffee That’s Just A Bit Too Gay

At a bar in Wolverton, England, a message of support for Orlando was too much for one frequent coffee customer. A sign outside Bar Bar Black Sheep that read, “If the sight of two dudes holding hands bother you, then please get your coffee elsewhere! #WeAreOrlando” prompted him to write a lengthy anonymous letter explaining why he would not shop there any longer.

CREDIT: Facebook/Danny Quinn
CREDIT: Facebook/Danny Quinn

“I simply can not agree with your blatant promotion of what is immoral and against God,” the letter said. Citing two verses from Leviticus, the letter explains that “Christianity is very clear” on the issue of homosexuality.

“I ask you kindly, to refrain from promoting homosexuality further in the public realm,” the letter implores. “Children could walk past that sign and you could have a negative influence on decisions they choose to make in life.”

Co-owner Danny Quinn shared the letter on a local Facebook page, offering to buy its author a cup of coffee so they could discuss it. So far, the author does not seem to have come forward.

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Since the letter has received widespread attention, however, the shop has received an outpouring of support. It has also had to brush off a few individuals who were sympathetic with the letter. When one individual from a nearby community suggested that he felt the sign meant the shop wasn’t welcoming of Christians, Bar Bar Black Sheep countered: “No our chalkboard sign clearly states those [who] take issue with two people of the same gender holding hands ‘please’ get your coffee elsewhere. The only ‘type’ of person who we don’t encourage to come in is one who harbours negative thoughts towards their fellow man.”