Last month, numerous outlets reported that one-third of Poland is now an “LGBT-free zone,” which means local municipalities have passed resolutions “against LGBT propaganda” and “pro-family.”
Now, believe it or not, voters in one U.S. county may decide whether to do effectively the same thing.
Joe Dill, a councilman in Greenville County, South Carolina, has introduced a proposed ballot measure that would allow voters to weigh in on an anti-gay resolution originally passed in 1996. The resolution states “that lifestyles advocated by the gay community should not be endorsed by government policy makers, because they are incompatible with the standards to which this community subscribes.”
The resolution also states that “the traditional family structure … has been proven to be the primary and best method for fostering a positive development in children” and “pledges not to fund those activities which seek to contravene these existing community standards.”
“This policy will serve and protect the health, safety and welfare of its constituents,” the resolution states.
Dill introduced his proposed ballot measure in the wake of a campaign by LGBT advocates to have the county council repeal the 24-year-old anti-gay resolution, which currently remains on the books.
During a standing-room-only meeting on Tuesday, the council voted 6-5 in favor of expiring all resolutions passed before 2012, which would have repealed the anti-gay resolution. However, the simple majority fell short of the eight votes needed for passage. The repeal provision initially cleared the council in an 8-3 committee vote. But two council members, including Dill, later switched their votes in response to pleas from religious conservatives who addressed the council, bringing Bibles to the podium and citing scripture.
“I as a Baptist preacher do believe there’s one way. That God’s way,” said David Shoemaker of Bethel Calvary Baptist Church in Travelers Rest. “You can’t get away from it, people. ‘In God We Trust.’ This is a biblical nation. County Council, if we get away from that, if we get away from biblical values, we won’t have the same Greenville that we have today. I beg of you, keep things as they are.”
Explaining his decision to switch his vote, Dill said: “When I got out here and I started hearing things that pricked my conscience and made me realize that I couldn’t vote for this because there’s a lot of stuff that was going to be killed in the 1996 resolution.”
“I heard the speakers,” Dill added. “I changed my mind.”
The council reportedly plans to take up Dill’s proposed ballot measure, which would allow voters to decide the issue in November, in two weeks. Upstate Pride, a local LGBT advocacy group, is pledging to continue its fight to have the council repeal the 1996 resolution.
Watch a report on Tuesday’s meeting below.