Pastor says gay pride rally hurt city

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 19, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — A local pastor criticized City Council’s decision to allow a gay pride event in downtown Salisbury this summer.
“In my opinion, you have placed every pastor in the community in a very bad position,” Bill Godair, pastor of Cornerstone Church, said Tuesday during the public comment portion of the council meeting.
Godair said he’s received at least 130 phone calls, text messages and emails complaining about the event, privately organized and sponsored. The inaugural gathering drew 2,000 people and 200 protestors, by police estimates.
One advocate, a 74-year-old woman from Colfax, was ticketed for kissing a protesting street preacher.
Godair said he was speaking to Council on behalf of people from 24 churches who have expressed to him their opposition.
The city closed Fisher Street for the June 25 event, and Mayor Susan Kluttz proclaimed it Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day.
Council hurt the local economy by allowing the rally, Godair said.
A petition calling for people to boycott businesses in Salisbury already has 300 signatures, he said. Godair noted he will not sign it.
“I don’t think that we should take our frustrations or anger out on the businesses of Salisbury,” he said. “They are hardworking and possibly had nothing to do with the event.”
People should “take your anger to the polls,” he said. “But don’t take it out on business owners.”
The worst part of the event was the timing, he said, because there is already a major anti-government sentiment in the city.
“Whoever put the pressure on you guys to do this was not a true friend,” Godair said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.