Art Otero, the Kissimmee commissioner who made headlines with his anti-gay statements, is not giving up on a logo change for the city.
Otero’s motion to add “In God We Trust” to Kissimmee’s logo sparked controversy when Otero made his case for the change by saying, “This nation has been moving toward more liberal postures such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana. I’m against that way of thinking. Those are not the values upon which this nation was founded. I think we need to fight for the values we are losing.”
His statement caused an uproar in Central Florida’s vocal LGBT community, so much that Kissimmee mayor Jim Swan said his staff was distracted from their regular duties.
Even though the change was voted down, Otero isn’t giving up on his mission. He recently said he’ll bring the referendum to the people, if necessary.
Otero’s anti-gay remarks have sparked the creation of a new LGBT-friendly organization: OUT in Kissimmee. Organizer Ryan Salyer wrote a letter to Swan asking for Otero’s resignation and an apology. Salyer’s other goal with the organization is to create an event that fosters “a sense of pride, dignity, and unity among the GLBT Community and their allies through social and cultural events to promote diversity, visibility, awareness and acceptance.”
“OUT in Kissimmee will not be like most other ‘gay party’ events, like various circuit or dance parties, nor is it a politically-oriented event,” said Salyer. “It will be a fun all-ages social event for all members of the GLBT community, along with its friends, families and supporters.”