Loudoun supervisors approve compromise to LGBT resolution

WASHINGTON — Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors approved a compromise method for honoring victims of the June 12 terrorist attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that’s an alternative to a polarizing motion to recognize June as LGBT Awareness Month.

Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) proposed the awareness-month bill in June, as a way “to acknowledge that we support equal rights for all citizens in this county.”

However, during a Tuesday hearing, opposition was strong.

“We really do not need our consciousness raised by anybody,” said Sen. Dick Black (R-Virginia), in testimony before the board. “Resolution 4 would establish a celebration in certain lifestyles and practices, and I don’t believe it reflects the public sentiment of the county,” he said.

Will Estrada, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, said legislation should celebrate people’s accomplishments.

“That’s what we should be recognizing them for, not for who they love or their sexual orientation,” said Estrada.

Loudoun resident Nick Harding, who identified himself as gay, supported the bill.

“A lot of times, gay and lesbian and trans folk here in Loudoun, and elsewhere, don’t feel all that proud,” he said. “It gives us something to shoot for.”

Supervisor Roy Meyer (R-Broad Run) suggested an alternative bill, called “Love Loudoun Month,” which would celebrate diversity, without focusing on sexual orientation.

Meyer’s bill declares July as Love Loudoun Month, proclaims that “All are welcome in Loudoun County” and urges “all residents to love and respect our diverse community, and celebrate and build a culture of opportunity for all to live in peace and prosperity.”

Meyer told the supervisors he met with Umstattd and others in creating the compromise bill.

“We have some religious disagreements in this county, and we shouldn’t be trying to alienate anyone,” Meyer said.

The bill passed, 5 to 4.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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