on the march

This South Carolina Mayor Doesn’t Agree With the Homosexual Lifestle, But He Will Be as Gay Pride’s Grand Marshal

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, in South Carolina, does not agree with the homosexual “lifestyle.” His feelings about The Gays, however, aren’t stopping him from serving as grand marshal of North Charleston’s first gay pride parade. Huh.

When May 15 arrives, you’ll see North Chuck’s elected leader riding in the grand marshal’s car. But will he be waving at spectators lining the streets? Or grumbling about the drag queens in glitter, muscle jocks in Lycra, and bull dykes in camo wife beaters the whole time?

Actually, he might turn out to be a great sport. “Even though I do not agree with everyone’s lifestyle,” he tells the Charleston City Paper, “I firmly believe in everyone’s equality. As the Mayor of North Charleston, I am the ambassador for our residents, businesses, and visitors. As with any event that will bring guests into our City, I want to ensure that North Charleston’s best foot is put forward. I will be the grand marshal of the Charleston Gay Pride Parade and Celebration, not for a lifestyle, but for a city.”

That might explain why the parade’s organizers and the local gays are, actually, accepting Summey’s remarks and participation with hubris, rather than outrage about his terms of choice (see: “lifestyle”).

And ya know what? We’ll never get everyone to agree with us that we should have marriage rights, discrimination protections, or that gay sex is the most erotic thing in the world. But that you’ll stand by our side as we celebrate our community and our achievements — that, friends, says more than anything about how you view our lifestyle.

And while we expected this media report to include some crazies railing against the parade, we’ve got everyone from citizens to business owners and, yes, religious types welcoming the parade. Or at least not protesting it.

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  • ROB

    sounds like a decent guy.

    but queerty, please: ‘accepting Summey’s remarks and participation with HUBRIS’?! ‘hubris’ means excessive pride, which will ultimately destroy you…

    get yourselves a dictionary, boys…

  • JRD

    Take note politicians, you can be HONEST about your opinions, and if they don’t interfere with your ACTIONS, you still get elected and make everyone happy (or, at least everyone who you can make happy, some people aren’t happy until everyone is filled with the same hate, they don’t realize that they can’t be both filled with hate and happy).

  • Evan

    Heh @ Rob.

  • TommyOC

    Keith Summey for President. Or at least for Congress.

  • TommyOC

    @TommyOC: Or, going further on my own comment, this is the kind of conservative type we should support. And support enthusiastically.

  • AlwaysGay

    Drop dead. Heterosexuals always believe they are the judge and jury of gay people. Gay people don’t need another haterosexual lording over us believing they have the authority and knowledge to say whatever about gay people. No, Keith Summey, I don’t approve of you or people like you.

  • Peter

    Always Gay::::yup, just be like the tea baggers or Sarah and Never accept anyone who just might be of some help. He certainly did not condemn the Gays, even though he does not approve; a big difference and place to start.

  • ycktr

    He doesn’t agree with the lifestyle, but thinks everyone deserves equal representation? Ok fine. He can help us make calls and organize lobbying efforts.

    The folks in N. Charleston are being duped into giving this guy amazing PR and visability for something he doesn’t actually support. How can they not see that? It’s fine for him to have an opinion that differs from ours….but don’t make the grand marshal of the fucking pride parade for christ’s sake.

    Jesus gay people are so gulible sometimes….no wonder we still get shit on by the system.


  • AlwaysGay

    @Peter: He’s done nothing for gay people. All he’s done is what every heterosexual has done for millenia and that is judge us. Now he’s the grand marshall of a gay pride parade. The gay people organizing this event need to get PROUD first. These gay people clearly see haterosexuals as more valueable therefore think a haterosexual is worthy of lording over a gay pride celebration simply because that person said something they thought was positive. Meanwhile gay people who have lived their lives as who they are (gay) and fought for our rights are given less prominent spots or none at all.

  • Miss Understood

    Okay, it’s admirable that he does not let his personal beliefs (prejudices) interfere with his actions as mayor, but Grand Marshall? You really can’t have self respect and ask someone who thinks you shouldn’t be gay to be Grand Marshall of a Gay Pride March. This creeps me out. I’m so glad I don’t live in the South.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    This is an L for whoever is organizing the North Charleston parade.

    They couldn’t find any actual gay people to be the marshal?

  • Dasher

    The fact that North Charleston is having its first gay pride parade is a big achievement in itself, whether or not Mayor Summey is the grand marshal. Never happen upstate.

    North Charleston is a gritty town that bears little resemblance to Charleston (except that the Amtrak station, which is located in North Charleston, has signs that say “Charleston”).

    Speaking of tracks, why is Mayor Summey standing so close to the trolley tracks?

  • Robert, NYC

    Since when are our lives considered “lifestyles”? When did we choose it? Doesn’t anyone find it revealing that when it comes to heterosexuality, its NEVER described as a lifestyle. Nobody challenges that. I’m tired of having my life and how I live denigrated to a mere “lifestyle” choice, something less than the majority.

  • Brian NJ

    There is the public and the private. I have no problem with politicians having animus to gays in private, that will come in time. But when you see a guy like this, he is nothing short of a GREAT AMERICAN. He gets it. Equality, separation of church and state. This is what we want. PATRIOTS.


    You guys are debating two separate issues – sure the guy is probably decent and (unlike most politicians) can make a distinction between his views and the good of the people.


    You don’t get points for being a decent human being.


  • Jaroslaw

    Perhaps AlwaysGay could have been a bit more tactful, but I agree with everything he said. And the same could be said for the mayor.

    He IS judging us by saying the first part; if he believed the second part he would have said ONLY that. “I believe in everyone’s equality.”

  • Forrest

    I used to live in Charleston.

    N. Charleston to Charleston is New Jersey to New York.

    That said, the N.Chas neighborhood where the parade will take place, Park Circle has been revived by us magical gays, we are so good at gentrifying!

    Summey gets credit for separating the personal from the political and representing all of his citizens.

    Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston is fully supportive of us and Charleston City Council recently passed non-discrimination ordinances. Maybe next year they can move it down the road to Charleston. While it’s still South Carolina the city is quite progressive as a result of being a global tourist destination and having a strong arts and college scene.

  • Yuki

    I actually was about to say exactly what Rob said: hubris is excessive pride, not pride itself. There’s a huge, huge difference.

    Anyway. I think I respect this man. I don’t necessarily like that he said “lifestyle”, but I appreciate that he put his full opinion out there: he doesn’t particularly think that homosexuality is “morally right”… but at the same time, he supports equality. I do like that he said he doesn’t agree with it, because it helps to show that even people with differing views can support it.

  • dizzy spins

    If people calmed down for a minute, they might realize the parade promoters are using the Mayor as much as he thinks he’s using the gays. When people see pictures of him in the parade, they’re not gonna think “oh, i guess he’s ambivalent about this.” They’re going to assume the Mayor is pro-gay or at least pro-equality. And some (admittedly stupid) people do look to people in positions of authority as role models.

    I think Summey was chosen because he was a “get”–a high-profile catch–not a major ally of the LGBTs.

    And maybe once he’s there and see the parade, he wont be so scared of our “lifestyle.”

  • Robert, NYC

    And of course, him thinking its morally wrong to be gay is all rooted in religious bigotry. That’s where 99.9% of homophobia stems from. Who is he to judge what is morally right or not, an anyone for that matter? There are a lot of things I don’t much care for that straights do but I don’t say they’re morally wrong even though they are the majority, nor do I start a political movement to take away their rights just because they don’t fit in with mine. In any case, exactly what does he mean when he says he’s for everybody’s equality? Anyone can say that, even Obama and look where he stands, yes to equality but NO to marriage equality. What the fuck? Its a crock of shit and so is Summey. He’s no different than Obama on that as are most of them.

  • Jaroslaw

    Robert NYC – he doesn’t say directly it is “morally wrong” but one can only conclude what you did – his opposition is almost certainly religiously based otherwise why disagree with it and simultaneously be “for equality”? And I like your question – what exactly does he mean by “firmly believe in everyone’s equality?”

    As for judging what is moral, actually we do it all the time in what our government supports straight marriage with tax breaks, murder and child molestation are punishable offenses (although even the concept of childhood as we understand it today didn’t exist until a couple centuries ago), in prior centuries women were property etc.

  • Kieran

    First of all, the mayor needs to be educated that someone’s sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle” or a “choice”. In the same way, you don’t “choose” to be left-handed or blue eyed, or prone to obesity.

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