Last month, a California mayor found himself in trouble after writing an opinion piece dedicated to the promotion of what he called “straight pride.”
And in spite of liberal opposition to the now-viral column, it looks like he’ll get to keep his job--for now, anyway.
Ted Hickman, the Vice Mayor of Dixon, California, published his apparently controversial views in the local Independent. The July 1 column also appeared on his personal website.
“Now before anyone gets their pantyhose in a knot,” wrote Hickman, “this is not really legally anti anything; instead it’s a pro-family; and proud to be a straight American, and me expressing a private opinion.”
The small-town vice mayor’s opinions naturally sparked outrage among liberals, resulting in critical coverage by a number of publications, including Newsweek magazine.
One of Vice Mayor Hickman’s constituents, Allison Hietbrink, had recently relocated to Dixon. In an email to The Reporter, she claimed to be having second thoughts about her decision to move to the town, which is located 23 miles outside of Sacramento.
“Knowing that this kind of offensive, blatantly hateful rhetoric is willingly and openly shared among city officials makes me quite weary of our decision,” wrote Hietbrink. “We are all entitled to our opinions, but when those opinions are publicly shared and peppered with such offensive, uneducated stereotypes of a certain community of people, our opinions become more than just thoughts and words: they become hurtful and dangerous. Ted’s opinion piece in a local paper was not meant to promote pride in straight people; it was meant to demean and ostracize LGBTQ people.”
According to The Reporter, Hietbrink also called for a public apology.
Vice Mayor Hickman “does not need to pretend to change his opinions: he needs to apologize for writing a piece with such shameful, hurtful examples of a misrepresented group of people,” her email read.
Apparently, she was not the only progressive constituent who felt that way.
A Facebook page titled Recall Ted Hickman, begun by a group that calls themselves the “Dixon Coalition” (and uses an LGBTQ-themed rainbow for a profile picture), has roughly 2,000 likes, and 2,000 followers.
But none of that was apparently enough to get the vice mayor ousted.
In spite of a number of angry protestors present at the July 25 meeting, CBS Sacramento reports that city leaders voted to permit Vice Mayor Hickman to keep his position. Hickman had defended his column by citing the First Amendment, claiming his rights did not end when he became an elected official.
Still, his detractors are not giving up.
In a Facebook post, the Dixon Coalition outlined a plan of action that included having “boots on the ground”, pledging its support to the liberal candidate who will be opposing Vice Mayor Hickman in November.
Conservatives, however, are pleased that the vice mayor is sticking around.
Randy Thomason, president of savecalifornia.com, is one of them. He spoke out strongly in support of Vice Mayor Hickman’s pro-family, pro-marriage position.
“Ted Hickman should be applauded by parents and grandparents,” Thomason said, “who want to protect their children and grandchildren from sexual indoctrination.”