The Wilton Manors mayor and City Commission spoke out Thursday against a proposed boycott of city businesses over a coming speech to a local business group by Congressman Allen West, R-Plantation.

The city leaders issued a statement late in the afternoon after a day of controversy in the community over the planned Aug. 8 West appearance at the Wilton Manors Business Association.

“Calling for an economic boycott of our business community because you do not happen to agree with …

[the] invitation to Congressman West is not only counterproductive, but is irresponsible,” Mayor Gary Resnick said in the statement.

Wilton Manors has a large gay and lesbian population. West opposes many issues important to gay activists, such as gay marriage and the end of the don’t ask, don’t tell ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Michael Rajner, legislative director for the Florida Gay, Lesbian, Bixexual, Transgender Democratic Caucus on Wednesday called for the business association to withdraw the speaking invitation to West. Failure to do so would result in a boycott of business association members by the gay community, Rajner said.

As a member of the GLBT Democratic Caucus, Resnick said “I was taken aback that such action would even be suggested.”

The Wilton Manors statement, issued by City Manager Joseph Gallegos, said the mayor and city commission “would like to make clear that while they do not support Congressman West’s positions on equality for the GLBT community, the city is against the threatened action to call for a boycott of local businesses.”

A boycott “makes no sense,” the statement said, especially since many of Wilton Manors businesses have gay owners and gay employees.


SOURCE: Sun Sentinel