Broward County commissioners in the US state of Florida have had enough of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle and decided to remove him from the Tourist Development Council because of his recent homophobic comments related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Broward.

Commissioners, upset by the negative impact the Mayor’s comments have had on tourism in the area, ousted the Mayor by unanimous vote late last week after repeated warnings asking the Mayor to cease his attacks on the gay community which have included the unfounded accusation that rampant gay sex in public restrooms has been fuelling Broward County’s HIV/AIDS crisis.

Joining the chorus of those in favour of Mayor’s ouster was AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) who applauded the move by the Broward County commissioners.

“We applaud the actions of the Broward County Commissioners who unanimously voted to remove Mayor Naugle from the Fort Lauderdale Convention Visitor’s Bureau. We urge the Ft. Lauderdale City Commission, Governor Charlie Crist and other public officials to denounce Mayor Naugle’s hateful rhetoric and call for his resignation,” said Michael Kahane, AIDS Healthcare Foundation Bureau Chief, Southern Region.

“It is unfortunate that so much damage has already been done by the Mayor’s misinformed and irresponsible remarks.

“Even more critical than jeopardising tourism dollars is the grave impact the Mayor’s false characterisation of the County’s HIV/AIDS epidemic will have on people who may continue to believe that they are not at risk for contracting HIV if they are not engaging in the behaviours the Mayor falsely proclaims have been primarily fuelling Broward’s HIV/AIDS crisis.

His remarks over the past few months are not only reprehensible for their hate-filled ignorance, but may in fact prove deadly to those who – after hearing the Mayor’s words — may now believe that the HIV virus only affects certain groups,” added Kahane.

One day after Broward County Tourism Commission’s decision to relieve itself of Jim Naugle, the NAACP also added it’s name to the roster of those condemning the embattled South Florida mayor, calling his remarks a form of hate and discrimination.

Duane Wells – 2007 Gay Wired; All Rights Reserved.