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Valdosta mayor refuses to sign South Georgia Pride proclamation


Valdosta Mayor John Gayle refused to sign a proclamation naming Sept. 15 as South Georgia Pride Day because he doesn't believe in gay marriage or the LGBT "lifestyle," according to a local activist and Pride organizer.

"He said he had strong personal convictions and beliefs and doesn't approve of my lifestyle or gay marriage," said Raynae Williams, a lesbian and assistant executive director of South Georgia Pride. Williams met with the mayor today and said the meeting lasted no more than five minutes.

Gayle did not return a call from GA Voice seeking comment but told a local TV station he could not sign the proclamation due to religious beliefs.

Valdosta is located approximately 230 milies south of Atlanta.

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Valdosta mayor proclaims Sept. 17 as ‘South Georgia Pride Day’

With South Georgia Pride around the corner, the organizers of the event have a nice welcome from the top city elected official — a proclamation naming Sept. 17 as "South Georgia Pride Day."

Valdosta Mayor John J. Fretti issued the proclamation to the South Georgia Pride Committee and for all attendees of the fest to recognize the contributions "gay and transgender citizens contribute to the fabric of our community." View the full proclamation below.

Richard Willis, an organizer for the Pride celebration on Sept. 17 in Valdosta, said he and the South Georgia Pride Committee are excited to be recognized in this way for the first time.