You may have read about the recent, unexpected death of Craig Lowe. Lowe served openly on the Gainesville City Commission from 2003 to 2010, and then served as Mayor until losing the next election in 2013. At the time, Gainesville mayors only served three-year terms.
Lowe won his election to Mayor by only 42 votes, during the required run-off.
What you may not have known was the battle Lowe fought with anti-gay extremists before and during his tenure as mayor.
Lowe’s opponents thought nothing of attacking his sexual orientation. A sign that said “No Homo Mayor” was posted on the property of the Dove World Outreach Center and attracted national attention. One of its pastors, Wayne Sapp, went further, uploading several videos online in which he attacked Lowe, saying about Lowe, “one of them is openly a homo, gay, fag – whatever you want to call him, I don't care.” The video on the doveworld.org blog was removed.
Lowe was also attacked for supporting a city ordinance that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender protections) in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
One flier purportedly distributed by Mayoral candidate Don Marsh, alleged that Lowe was “'responsible' for legally allowing men into women's restrooms!” A hot-button topic for the extreme anti-lgbtq right.
On being sworn into office, Lowe, brushed off the attacks saying, “Some people grow up, and some people don’t.”
The community in general also disagreed with the attacks, one commentor saying, “What’s [expletive] up is that with all of this, with all of the hatred, discrimination, and animosity, the Christian conservatives don’t even get it. They don’t get the fact that they are evil, vile, wicked, retched, and have no Christian values whatsoever. It is a mockery to God almighty and Christ that they call themselves Christians.”
Lowe lost the next election after being charged with driving under the influence, property damage and careless driving in 2013.
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