East Point Mayor Earnestine Pittman read a proclamation at Monday’s city council meeting declaring June 2010 as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. With close to a dozen gay and lesbian East Point residents gathered around her, Pittman read the proclamation to the city council.

“Whereas: Gay and Lesbian Americans in every field of endeavor have made solid contributions to America, and are an integral part of our American fabric and with each passing year the American people become more receptive to diversity and more open to those who are different from themselves; and

“Whereas: The city of East Point embraces diversity and understands that the Gay and Lesbian community is an important part of East Point’s diversity…” Pittman read as part of the proclamation.

The mayor also thanked residents Erik Friedly and Joel Tucker for their help in helping write the proclamation. The two openly gay men are also on the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission and Tucker serves also on the Ethics Board.

It was Pittman’s idea for the proclamation, and Friedly and Tucker gave her credit for taking the lead.

“She’s continuing the proclamations process that was started by [former mayor Patsy Jo] Hilliard and continued by [former mayor Joseph] Macon. I’m proud,” Tucker said.

Mary Ann Lee, 49, who has lived in East Point for six years, read a statement on behalf of the group of people who there for the reading of the proclamation.

“We are a small representation of the gay and lesbian community of East Point that is here to accept this proclamation, proclaiming June Pride Month in East Point,” she said.

“As a community, it is true we are an integral part of the fabric of East Point and America. We are proud of our commitment to work with the greater community of citizens and elected officials to ensure a prosperous East Point where all citizens regardless of their race, age, gender or sexual orientation can enjoy a quality of life without the obstruction of governmental oppression,” Lee added.

After the acceptance speech was finished, Eric Morrow, who ran unsuccessfully for East Point City Council last year, presented Pittman with a Pride rainbow flag.

“The mayor has done a great thing for our community,” Morrow said.

Lee, who choked up during the acceptance speech, said the mayor’s proclamation was a giant step forward for LGBT people.

“For me personally, It shows the younger people that they don’t have to be afraid of who they are, and they can go on and succeed in life and be proud of who they are,” she said. “When I was younger it wasn’t as quite as accepted. It means the world to me East Point declare June as Pride month … this is so far from where I came from.”

During her speech, Lee noted that East Point has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation as well as a domestic partner registry and legislation that provides same-sex partner benefits for city employees.

The full proclamation:

WHEREAS: Gay and Lesbian Americans have made important and lasting contributions to our Nation in every field of endeavor; and

WHEREAS: Gay and Lesbian rights movements have tirelessly united each other, their families, friends, and all those committed to justice and equality in the crusade to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices; and

WHEREAS: Gay and Lesbian Americans in every field of endeavor have made solid contributions to America, and are an integral part of our American fabric and with each passing year the American people become more receptive to diversity and more open to those who are different from themselves; and

WHEREAS: The city of East Point embraces diversity and understands that the Gay and Lesbian community is an important part of East Point’s diversity; and

WHEREAS: This June the City of East Point recognizes and observes Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and celebrates the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of gays and lesbians.

NOW, THEREFORE, I Earnestine D. Pittman, Mayor of East Point, hereby proclaim the month of June 2010 to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and encourage all East Pointers to join in this observance.

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