FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 15 — The uproar began last month, when Mayor Jim Naugle said that installing a single-occupancy restroom on a local beach could deter “homosexual activity.”
Mr. Naugle's recent remarks have led to protests by local gay advocates and calls for a tourism boycott.
Mr. Naugle, a six-term mayor in this city that draws legions of gay tourists and residents, went on to tell a local newspaper that he preferred the word “homosexual” to “gay” because he believed many gay people were “unhappy.” Soon after, he criticized a plan to house a private gay book collection in a public library because it contained pornography.
Outraged local residents called for his resignation, started a “Flush Naugle” campaign and organized a protest rally that brought hundreds to City Hall in late July, a time of year when South Florida usually verges on comatose. That day, Mr. Naugle announced that he would issue an apology.
And he did — to “the children and parents of our community,” for not being aware of “how serious the problem was of the sexual activity that’s taking place in bathrooms and public places and parks.” He questioned whether Broward County should continue telling tourists to “come on down,” citing 2004 statistics that found it led the nation in new AIDS cases.
New York Times 17 August 2007