In a post on the Equality Florida blog, the normally intelligent Smith seems to forget about the front-running Ford, painting the mayoral campaign in rather stark terms:
“The city’s next mayor will either be Scott Wagman – a successful businessman and LGBT champion, or an anti-gay former City Council Member – Bill Foster, who fought hard against sexual-orientation protections in the city’s Human Rights Ordinance.”
This is the kind of hyperbolic statement that will repel otherwise moderate voters and thinkers. It’s also typical of Wagman’s supporters, who have attempted to divide the city into a false choice of new and old, us and them.
Certainly, Bill Foster’s views on Gay Rights are the most troubling aspect of his candidacy, but as the St. Petersburg Times writes in its recommendation of Foster: “At times, Foster has spoken in haste and escalated the rhetoric rather than cooling passions. We also have disagreed with his conservative social views, including those in his intemperate letter to the School Board last year promoting creationism. Those views have little to do with being mayor. Foster makes a convincing argument that he recognizes the weight his words and tone would carry if he is elected, and his campaign reflects that maturity. He has articulated a reassuring commitment to civil liberties and constitutional rights, and that would be the yard stick to measure his performance.”
But neither Foster nor Wagman have yet to make it into the General Election. It’s likely only one of them will end up making it out of the primary to face Ford. Before Nadine Smith and Equality Florida turns the mayoral campaign into a referendum on gay rights, perhaps they should get the cast of characters straight.