Controversy broke out in Largo, Florida, after a city manager disclosed that he would be undergoing gender-reassignment surgery. During a special meeting at City Hall this week, some people came to his defense, but most wanted him fired, including a pastor who said: "If Jesus was here tonight, I can guarantee you he'd want him terminated. Make no mistake about it."
Those are the words of Ron Sanders of the Lighthouse Baptist Church of Largo, as reported in the St. Petersburg Times. It looks like the city manager's fate will be termination.
During the special meeting, city commissioners took the first step to terminate city manager Steve Stanton, placing him on paid leave, the newspaper reports. Stanton served as a city manager for 14 years until the newspaper reported on his plan to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. After the disclosure, many city residents called for his ouster.
Mayor Pat Gerard was one of the people backing Stanton, urging the commission to allow Stanton to keep serving as city manager.
"I'm going to be embarrassed if we throw this man out on the trash heap after he's worked so hard for the city," Gerard said. "We have a choice to make: We can go back to intolerance, or we can be the city of progress."
Gerard was alluding to Largo's motto, "City of Progress."
City commissioners who voted to dismiss Stanton said the disclosure of his gender-reassignment surgery had nothing to do with their decision, telling the newspaper that they had lost confidence in his ability to lead city employees.
The newspaper reports that Stanton said that he has no intentions to sue the city. The Florida Civil Rights Act--which prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status--has no provision barring gender-identity bias.
Source: St. Petersburg Times