North Bay News

Vallejo mayor faces backlash after gay comments

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The city of Vallejo may be best known for declaring bankruptcy but now it is in the headlines for comments the mayor made about gays.

"I apologize if my words were offensive, they were not intended to be offensive," Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis said.

Davis finds himself in the middle of a controversy after an interview published this weekend in the New York Times. The article, titled "Faith and Tolerance Collide in Vallejo," quotes Davis talking about gay people, saying, "They're committing sin and that sin will keep them out of heaven." He also calls Vallejo "a city of God."

"I'm not going to discuss my faith with anybody anymore," Davis said Wednesday.

Davis does not deny making the comments, but says they were taken out of context.

Gay Vallejo resident Charles Legalos wants the City Council to censure the mayor and says his apology is an excuse.

"I would like to hear him explain in what context those comments would be appropriate coming from an elected public official," Legalos said.

Two years ago, Davis won a bitter mayoral race by just two votes in a recount over an openly gay candidate. Members of the gay community say there has been tension since then, but Davis says he has been a consensus builder.

"There's nothing people can point to in the past two years of my election or course of my campaign that would suggest that I've been anything but fair," Davis said.

Davis feels the controversy is the last thing his city needs. Vallejo is dealing with bankruptcy and tough financial decisions. Father Lou Bordisso, who is openly gay, is organizing a protest against the mayor, saying Davis has violated the separation of church and state.

"I think anyone in political office does not have the right to try to impose their beliefs on the population," Bordisso said.

The mayor has asked extended an olive branch, asking for a meeting with Bordisso, but that has not yet happened.

"We need to pull in a common direction for the benefit of the city," Davis said.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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