In Portsmouth, A War Of Words Between Gay City Councilman And Biblecrazy Mayor

DavidMaloneWhen goodhearted mayors across the country signed their names to the Mayors For Freedom petition in support of marriage equality, Kevin Johnson (pictured at bottom right), the First Ward City Councilman in Portsmouth, OH, wrote a very kind and well-reasoned letter to Mayor David Malone (pictured at right) asking him to do likewise. According to the Portsmouth Daily Times:

Johnson stated in his correspondence to Malone, “As you are probably aware, when I ran for Council in 2009, certain elements in our community suggested that I would bring a 'San Francisco gay agenda' to the forefront of my legislative goals. And, as you are most definitely aware, such has not been the case. I have not once suggested any legislation in support of, nor have I encouraged any elected official to support, any gay cause, issue or proposition. Until now.

… “Though this issue no longer affects me directly, given that my partner of over 30 years, Paul Eugene Johnson, passed away nearly three years ago, I firmly believe this issue will 1) not go away, and 2) will succeed in municipalities and states that seek and thrive upon economic and social diversity. In the areas of business and education, equal rights for gay and lesbian persons has become critical to success … [F]or municipalities and states that have extended equal rights provisions, the benefits to individuals and the local economies have long been documented. Our educated young entrepreneurs and skilled workers find they thrive in equality environments; and tend to choose where to live and work based upon the perceived “equality” factor of an area — which, for example, both Cleveland and Columbus have recognized — to their economic benefit.

Councilman Johnson signed off by "humbly" asking that Mayor Malone "consider joining this effort as Mayor of Portsmouth." The correspondence between Councilman Johnson and Mayor Malone deteriorated from there. Mayor Malone sent Johnson a dismissive and — especially considering its brevity — remarkably unlettered response:

“Keeping this response very short and to the point,” Malone wrote. “Being that I am a minister of the Gospel and the BIBLE emphatically forbids such, there is absolutely no way that I will support this. Although this is your preferred lifestyle, I have the utmost respect for you as a person and the things you do for the city, I cannot support what God calls an abomination.

To which Councilman Johnson responded:


I decided that I should let my anger at your February 8 response abate before responding. ‘Preferred lifestyle’ my butt! Being homosexual is not a lifestyle as any reading of the subject matter will show. I had written to Mayor Malone but it seems I received a response from the Right Reverend Malone. And I immediately thought of Christ’s admonition to “render under Caesar…;” an admonition concerning responsibilities to the “state” as opposed to those to God …

… there are many who oppose marriage between same-sex couples for various reasons. I can understand that. Paul and I long had difficulty with it after examining the disasters of so many heterosexual marriages made us suspect there is a curse upon the institution. However, for an elected official to be opposed to this or any other issue based upon their preferred book of religion, be it the Bible, Book of Mormon, Koran, Torah or the Vedas, begs credulity. But I suppose one must be thankful that our Mayor is not an orthodox, theological Shiite or Sunni Muslim.

It's a good reply, but I suspect Mayor Malone will not understand it. Especially the point at the end. "Sunni Muslim?" Malone will think. "Well, of course we're lucky I'm not a Sunni Muslim! That's the wrong religion. A Sunni mayor would be a disaster!"

Mayor Malone hasn't yet responded to Councilman Johnson's last note.

Not incidentally, a brief look around the mayor's webpage on Portsmouth's municipal website reveals no evidence of Malone's theocratic bent. On it, Mayor Malone promises to construct his administration on the pillars of "WISDOM," "HOPE," "DIRECTION," and "COMPASSION" (and, we may learn by inference, the expression of sincerity by the willful abuse of caps lock). Malone even promises to bring radical, progressive change to Portsmouth:


Change is threatening to the status quo! It is my lot to change the culture and the thinking of those who maintain that forward thinking and positive movement cannot be attained. I understand that cultures do not die; they are replaced. It takes a culture to replace one.

Nowhere on the whole page does mention the Bible.


  1. stan chaz says

    I’VE HAD ENOUGH! In this Holy War on Religion, of Religion, and by Religion, I SURRENDER! I’m a lover, not a fighter.  Instead… I’m gonna start my OWN religion, and get in on the good stuff: tax exemptions, and lots of taxpayer money to do what I want, in the name of religious liberty. Most definitely! Hey NEWT -wanna join? We’re gonna have open marriages and multiple wives and all SORTS of neat stuff that you’re just gonna love! But don’t you worry your little head Newt : we’ll have no , I repeat, NO nasty stoning of adulterers. None of that stuff. I Promise! As for SANTORUM, he just LOVES to tell other people how to live. He’ll make us a REAL fine preacher-man. In fact, we’ll make him Saint Santorum. AND fix his Google search results! As for Mr. Obama,  obviously, we’ll need to (severely) demonize him, even further. And his dog Toto too. Last but not least: MITT and RON. Hmmm. Hey, just for you two guys: we’ll insist on NO TAXES AT ALL for church members…AND human sacrifice of illegal aliens. Out with their hearts! Televised! Live! Whoooppee! WHAT A COUNTRY!  :-)
    By the way, please don’t mention the REASON that Mitt Romney’s dad was born in Mexico (i.e. The fact that Mitt’s Mormon grand-dad left the United States in the 1880’s. He went to Mexico BECAUSE laws against polygamy were passed in the U.S. ; Being a Mormon back then, Mitt’s grand-dad wanted to keep his multiple wives. Hey, who wouldn’t?) Bottom line: if we follow the “logic” of the people crying crocodile tears about a non-existent “war on religion”, then the U.S. should have allowed polygamy (and who knows what else) just because a particular religion claimed it as their cherished belief. GIVE ME A BREAK!
    Absolutely NO ONE is coming into our Churches or places of worship and trying to tell parishioners what to believe…..or forcing them to use contraception. BUT If the Bishops (and other denominations) want to continue running businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no “faith” at all- THEN they must play by the same rules and rights that other workers have and enjoy…especially if their businesses use our tax dollars (and skip paying taxes) in the process. This is not a “war on religion”. It’s a war on women and men who simply want to plan their families and control their future. Now that’s REAL religious liberty!

  2. Steve says

    If the “San Francisco gay agenda” is to create one of the most prosperous, technology-forward, tolerant and welcoming places in the world, why wouldn’t you want this?

    As a San Franciscan, I hate when people use our city’s name negatively. This mayor’s an idiot.

  3. wright says

    love the comment about “so many christians and so few lions”. (what ever happened to the main stream christians,,,,you know, the ones that can actually think for themselves!!!!!

    and the comment about same sex marriage.

    how does the sanctimonious mayor feel about all the other prohibitions in Leviticus?? bet he wears cotton/polyester shirts, etc

  4. says

    Geez & wow — a quick search of Portsmouth Ohio, to find the political party of this Malone fellow, shows me that this mayor has declared personal bankruptcy, that the comments about him on a half-dozen blogs are 85% negative, that’s he disdainful of everyone, and power mad, that’s he called for prayer to solve his city’s problems, has stood on the steps of the municipal building waving the Bible in hand while preaching, that he’s an administrative disaster and economic illiterate, that the city’s problems include one hell of a prescription drug problem, and the recall of the previous mayor and a faltering economy that has seen the city decline in population from 37,000 to 20,000 in the past 30 years, and that this mayor has raised taxes on everything that moves and doesn’t move while giving tax breaks to rich cronies, and that the local theater is a liquor serving front for a christian woman who won’t get the license in her own name and her felony convicted husband who can’t, and no one in town is happy. And the mayor is a Democrat, because the Democrats are for us! Yah, sure, right.

    That befouled and benighted place needs to just fade away to nothing already, and give the poor people of the place a rest.

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